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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

Real Deal - Staff Picks

Our staff picks for retail in Metro Detroit

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


Best T-Shirt Shop

Goods Detroit

15 E. Kirby St., No. 108, Detroit

313-703-7754; goodsdetroit.com

Remember when every mall in America had a print-your-own-T-shirt shop? Remember how much fun it was to take in your favorite kitty-cat illustration and have someone put it on a shirt that you could proudly wear for your elementary school class picture? You can relive that magical moment again at Goods Detroit, where you can bring in your own design or choose from a selection of pre-made images. The pre-made images can be printed on-site. While you’re waiting for your shirt to be printed, shop around: The store also carries jewelry, art, soaps and other items made by local artists.

 

Best Place to Get a Hair Cut While Rocking Out

The Chop Shop

2980 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-546-2237

This place really is the shit. The whole room feels like a cross between an auto shop and a ’50s barbershop. Women are welcome, but the feel is one of a man’s man’s place. The owner, Jay, will talk to you about Morrissey for hours, while everything from Elvis to old surf rock will play in the background. All of the staff look like they just stepped off the Rebel Without a Cause set. The prices are reasonable, and the quality is top-notch. If you don’t live in Berkley, it’s worth a drive.

 

Best Place to Find an Old He-Man Figure That You Used to Have When You Were a Kid but Lost

Time Travelers

3277 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-548-7213

There are plenty of comic stores around town, and good ones too, from Wonderworld in Taylor to Detroit Comics in Ferndale and Green Brain in Dearborn. However, none are quite like Time Travelers. The place is appropriately named, because it kinda feels like stepping into the forgotten memories of your 12-year-old self. The shelves are stacked with toys of yesteryear, from He-Man and Transformers to Star Wars and Smurfs. Of course, Time Travelers sells comic books and game cards too, much like any other store of its type. But it is the nostalgic thrift store quality of the place that makes it stand out.

 

Best Sleaze-Free, Sex-Positive Place to Buy Sex Toys

Lover’s Lane

1527 Washtenaw Rd., Ypsilanti;734-487-9201

More locations at loverslanestore.com

We all know those poorly lit, sleazy adult stores on the seedy side of town. The ones that sell expressionless blow-up dolls and French ticklers. You don’t want to go there. You don’t even own a trench coat! You’re just looking for something to spice up sexy-time with your partner and add a little dimension to solo fun. Lover’s Lane has a friendly staff that offers information and encouragement to people of all genders, orientations and experience levels who want to explore their sexuality. There are testers of lubes and oils available for comparing slipperiness, taste and scents. Toys can be handled, to better evaluate feel and vibration intensity levels. Now there’s something you can’t do on the Internet!

 

Best Independent Toy Store

Adventures in Toys

250 W. Maple Rd., Birmingham; 248-646-5550

Big store and good selection are not mutually exclusive, and Birmingham’s Adventures in Toys proves that true. Hardly bigger than a breadbox (we are teasing, of course), the store is neatly stocked with toys that are designed to do more than enthrall for the moment. From science, art and engineering-themed gifts for both sexes, the owners’ persnickety demand for intellectual engagement seems to drive what’s for sale. Nary a Bratz doll in sight, the items tend to fall on the higher end of the price scale, but then quality also doesn’t come cheap. The free polka-dot giftwrap is a nice touch too.

 

Best Place to Play for Robot Nerds and Lego Maniacs

The Robot Garage

637 S. Eton St., Birmingham; 248-723-9100

The idea is one of sheer brilliance: Take one unused warehouse and spruce it up; fill it with all things Lego; hire some great, kind and kid-loving staff; charge premium prices for classes, parties, etc.; rinse, lather and repeat. The owners of this marvel in childhood entertainment offerings, who opened their doors less than 24 months ago in an old warehouse in Birmingham’s “industrial” district, have created a facility no kid can resist. With a top-notch crew who are hands-on and helpful, the premium charged to attend a class, camp or workshop does not come cheap. The venue is also a great place for birthday parties. The combination of robotics, Legos and education, all packaged in a low-key atmosphere make this the go-to place for us. (BG)

 

Best Indie Grocer in Hamtramck

Al-Haramain International Foods

3306 Caniff St., Hamtramck; 313-870-9748

Hamtramck has no shortage of small corner grocery stores but Al-Haramain is the best of them. The staff is friendly and if you shop there enough, they’ll remember you by name and let you know when your favorite fruit is first in-season and back in stock. Every square inch of the place is packed with fresh produce, candy from around the globe, bread, bulk spices, nuts, and olives, halal meats, and that one thing you didn’t know you needed until you found it. Best of all are the reasonable prices. Why does this ethnic market offer excellent produce at reasonable prices? It’s because Al-Haramain’s Yemeni customers demand high quality and low prices — and that’s a deal we all get to share in.

 

Best Retail Rebirth

DeVries & Co.

2468 Market St., Detroit; 313-831-2020

Longtime patrons of Detroit’s Eastern Market got a good scare last year with the announcement that the venerable R. Hirt Jr. company, founded in 1887 and run by four generations of the same family, was closing its doors. As it turned out, fortunately for fans of the vendor of specialty goods, the store was actually closing for a mild renovation, passing back into the hands of another Hirt descendant, the man who ran it until recently, David DeVries. The renovations were complete last May, and shoppers can now find the same specialty products in an even finer-looking space than previously. The floors shine and a bit of order has been added to the checkout process, with two registers to check out patrons at the end of their shopping experience. Congratulations to DeVries for giving us a slightly updated version of an ancient Detroit classic.

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