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  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Best of Detroit 2011

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Photo: Marvin Shaouni

Public Square - Staff Picks

Super people, places and things, picked by our team of critics

Best Detroit Headline to Recycle

"The Incredible Shrinking City"
Monthly Detroit, July 1979

Some 32 years ago, writer Kirk Cheyfitz laid out the then-vexing problems of a city whose revenues and political clout mirrored a population decline "from a high of 1.85 million to less than 1.3 million today." The article reminded readers that the city, in its time of largesse, had built the burbs, from supplying water and sewer lines, to for a time busing in and educating "at Detroit's expense" students from Harper Woods, East Detroit and parts of Grosse Pointe. Already in 1979, the concept was emerging of two Detroits, "a small private city and the larger public city," the former then epitomized by the Renaissance Center and the then-new New Center. Mayor Coleman Young may be remembered by some as divisiveness embodied, but his final words from the piece still resonate: "I think there is recognition in the area that the area cannot survive and prosper if Detroit does not survive and prosper. But we in Detroit must recognize that the surrounding suburbs have a key role to play and we must between us define those roles so we strengthen each other and don't tear each other apart."

 

Best Introduction to the City

Detroit Orientation Institute
3075 Faculty/Administration Bldg., 656 W. Kirby Detroit; 313-577-0171; doi.wayne.edu

There's no way to "get" Detroit in a day or two. But there is one intensive program to get any newcomer started and prod all but the most knowledgeable long-timer. Directed by Detroitist Ann Cuddohy Slawnik in conjunction with Wayne State University and Inside Detroit, the three-day Detroit Orientation Institute unpacks our epochs, delving into the history of the city, tracking how we got to where we are, while ferrying participants around town to talk to some of the most involved and informed folks around.

 

Best meme to kill

There are no supermarkets in Detroit

It's true that there are no major chain grocery stores in Detroit, but in the national media that fact has sometimes been simplified to no grocery stores in Detroit. Oops. And even the accurate "no major chain supermarkets" exaggerates the importance of major chains in a city with Eastern Market and independent grocers like Honey Bee La Colmena, not to mention affiliates of Spartan distributors and of the Aldi stores (a chain operated by the owners of Trader Joe's), etc. Detroit author James Griffioen laid it all out in detail at the Urbanophile website (urbanophile.com or tinyurl.com/4nb5o94 to go directly to Griffioen's piece). That's not to say that access to healthy food isn't a problem for many in this city without real mass transit. But let's keep things in perspective.

 

Best Detroit Rock Radio Recycling

Jim Johnson
WOMC-FM (104.3)

He may have gone all Karl Rove on us as a "conservative political commentator," but J.J. has owned the best radio pipes in the city since he captained "The Morning Crew" on the old WWWW in the '70s. When he and Lynne Woodison were dumped by WCSX in 2008, it looked like he might go off to form his own Tea Party, but you can't keep a good voice down. While Johnson seemed like an obvious frontrunner to replace Dick Purtan last year when the morning legend laid down his headphones at oldies-rock WOMC-FM (along with fellow Detroit airwave faves Chris Edmonds and Kevin O'Neill), WOMC did the next best thing, installing him as its 10 a.m.-3 p.m. weekday host. Rock on, J.J.

 

Best Time to Appreciate a Detroit Radio Institution

Now

"The Great Voice of the Great Lakes" has passed through more hands than Lindsay Lohan in recent years, but the latest WJR-AM (760) ownership change may be the most menacing. In February, WJR, as well as Detroit FM stations WDVD (96.3) and WDRQ (93.1), were sold by Citadel Broadcasting as part of a multibillion-dollar merger with Cumulus Media. Atlanta-based Cumulus, which built its fortune with broadcast properties in medium-sized Southern and Midwest markets, has a reputation for not valuing on-air talent, and the feeble economy could be an excuse for downsizing and cost-cutting. WJR morning monarch Paul W. Smith has discussed the sale and transition openly on his show. If he and the station's other high-priced personages are concerned, we may have reason to be.

 

Best Detroit TV Hair

Lauren Podell, WDIV

Who are we to argue with the opinion of experts? Earlier this year, David Humphries (aka "Hump the Grinder"), impresario of Detroit's "Hair Wars" stylist competitions, conducted an online poll to determine who possessed the most luscious locks among our city's TV heads. After the voting, mostly from hair care professionals, Podell, Local 4's blond traffic reporter, was judged a cut above the rest — by a mere .5 percent over her WDIV airmate, Rhonda Walker. At least for this year, blondes had more fun.

 

Best Blog for Bicyclists

M-bike.org

The stated goal, says author Todd Scott, is to promote safe and convenient bicycling in metro Detroit. Whether it's announcements of community forums, analyses of master plans and their inclusion (or exclusion) of cycling, collections of media reports about cycling events and policies or just plain funny cycling tidbits, find it here.

 

Best Way to See the Great Lakes

On a freighter

And not necessarily as a stowaway. The freighters are normally only certified to carry customers and family members. But it turns out that various nonprofits raffle off tickets for cruise slots donated by the shipping companies. You can still get in on a raffle closing May 1 for a seven-day, six-night trip for two on one of the Great Lakes Fleet Inc. ships out of Duluth; $10 a ticket, three for $25. Check for details on that and other raffles at boatnerd.com, a source for followers of the big ships on the Great Lakes.

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