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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 2011

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Photo: Marvin Shaouni

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Spend the Night - Staff Picks

From upscale cocktails to dives to rawk 'n' roll, our fave nocturnal haunts

Best candlelight creepy-crawly that connects Southfield to Charles Manson, Hollywood and the death of the '60s

Jay Sebring Gravesite
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 25800 W. 10 Mile Rd., Southfield; 248-350-1900

It was America's crime of the century, one that absolutely horrified the country, killed its innocence and any idea of peace-and-love utopia. It said: You're not safe, not even in your own home. The murders also terrified Hollywood's music and acting elite, many of whom thought they were next.

Early morning on Aug. 9, 1969, at the behest of the 5-foot-2 Charles Manson, four fucked-up all-American kids — Susan Adkins, Charles "Tex" Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian — scaled the fence at Roman Polanski's rented Beverly Hills house and remorselessly murdered Southfield's Jay Sebring, along with Polanski's pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, socialite coffee heiress Abigail Folger and her beau, and supposed drug dealer, Wojciech Frykowski, plus a teenager, Steven Parent, who happened to be leaving after visiting the groundskeeper.

Doris Day's son, Byrds producer Terry Melcher, had recently moved out of the house and has long been rumored to be the Manson family's original target. Melcher, at one point, offered to help Manson's budding music career at the behest of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, but had pulled out.

Born in Birmingham, Ala., Oct. 9, 1933, Sebring (real name: Thomas John Kummer) grew up in Southfield with his parents, two sisters and a brother, and graduated from Southfield High. After a Navy stint in the Korean War, Sebring moved to L.A. His hairstyling skills soon transformed how people looked at the barber shop, and Sebring became the first male to ever open his own men's salon, which quickly expanded to Sebring International, with hair care boutiques in San Francisco, New York, London and West Hollywood.

Sebring set male coif standards, which became high-art in his hands, and he singlehandedly invented the idea of the hairstylist as international Playboy (he lived in Jean Harlow's old mansion, where Harlow's hubby Paul Bern had committed suicide), while fashioning the dos of Hollywood's who's who, including Warren Beatty, Kirk Douglas, Paul Newman, Frank Sinatra, Cliff Robertson and myriad others. He's the one who shaped Jim Morrison's mane into total rock-star perfection.

Sebring worked hair on film sets (including Spartacus) and helped launch Bruce Lee's career (Sebring introduced the unknown martial arts expert to TV producer William Dozier, who then cast him to star in TV's Green Hornet). Sebring even played himself once (as Mr. Oceanbring) on a Batman episode.

He married and divorced once (Cami, a model), and was later engaged to Tate, until she met Polanski on a Euro film shoot (The Fearless Vampire Killers). Sebring and Tate stayed close — it's said she was the love of his life.

During the murders, Sebring pleaded vainly with Watkins and Adkins to be gentle with Tate, who was 8-1/2 months pregnant, before he was shot, kicked in the face and stabbed seven times and had a rope tied around his neck (that connected to Tate's neck) while his ex-fiance could only watch in absolute horror. She then begged for her own life and that of her unborn child.

Sebring was buried at Holy Sepulchre in Southfield on Aug. 13, 1969. A fearful and gun-toting Steve McQueen eulogized the star-studded crowd. —Brian Smith

 

Best New Night in Royal Oak

Exchange Bureau Presents at Goodnite Gracie
222 S. Sherman Dr., Royal Oak; exchangebureaumusic.com

Joshua Adams has held a Wednesday Night residency at this intimate cocktail club for a hot minute now, but he's breathing new air into the evening by showcasing his internationally recognized record label, Exchange Bureau Music. The evening is now a showcase of revolving musicians from the label's stable, with Adams himself on hand to lend two when needed. They've already featured DJ Godfather, DIAL81, Andy Toth and Brian Gillespie. In the coming weeks and months they'll feature none other than Piranha Head and Sinistarr. And we're keeping our fingers crossed for some SelfSays, Quest MCODY and Guilty Simpson. Hey, EXB, that sounds like a pretty dope set, come to think of it. ...

 

Best Rock 'n' Roll Venue for '80s Reminiscence

Harpos
14238 Harper Ave., Detroit; 313-824-1700; harposconcerttheatre.com

In the last 12 months, Faster Pussycat, LA Guns, Ratt, Stryper, Trixter and others of similar vintage and ilk have passed through the long-standing, tough-as-power-chords Harpos. Not exactly up-to-the-moment shows, are they? But so what? The club doesn't give a shit. Besides, Harpos knows you can't argue that their aging followers are steadfast in their undying loyalty and agree that it's far too lazy (and easy) to pick on '80s bands (and their retreating hairlines). And this venue — with it's arena-like sound, lights and killer sightlines — is so delightfully uncool that it's gone completely full circle and is now cool again. It's a proper rock 'n' roll venue. It's heaven for some, hell for others, but it is, as old Rob Halford would say, heaven and hell.

 

Best Place to Get Thrown Into (Not out Of)

Jumbo's
3736 Third St., Detroit; 313-831-8949

The drinks are either weak or strong and it's advisable to gulp a series of shots down before venturing through Jumbo's doors (let's not even talk about the poopers), but there's certain charm that not even the cantankerous glass-empty day drunks, Wayne State "chill" hipsters and nightly regulars can argue doesn't exist. The bar staff is wink-wink friendly enough without being exactly warm, and like many heady Detroit neighborhood taverns — even those deep in Cass Corridor's bowels — the juke box is killer, as is the karaoke. We live in a city that has its priorities right, now don't we? For the record, this place has long been an MT fave.

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