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  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday 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 Dive Bar

The Painted Lady
2930 Jacob St., Hamtramck, 313-874-2991; myspace.com/paintedlady

Do you remember what bars used to be like? Dusty, dirty, dark places where shifty characters gave you the fish-eye as you walked in? Places where any decent person would about-face and walk out? Where illicit behavior was warranted and winked at? Don't remember? Then you should stay as far away from the Painted Lady as possible. But if you want to join the ranks of the down and out, the losers, the screamers, the whiskey-soaked crowd mulling over failed dreams and washing the bullshit down, you couldn't do better than this venerable Hamtramck watering hole. Best of all are the oddball groups of crust punks, hipsters and, heck, even full-on Zen Buddhists who seem to enjoy crashing the fun. No yuppies allowed. Use the side door.

 

Best Low-Key Bar Night

Tuesdays in the Forest at the Loving Touch
22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-546-3696

For the last few years, champion bar manager and community energizer Carey Gustafson has invited musicians, music writers and certain music scenesters to haul their music collection to the Loving Touch — your best bet to find a drunk musician any day of the week — and play DJ in "the forest" for a night. The thing is, no matter who's designing the night's playlist, the atmosphere is perfectly rounded out by conversations that swell mostly around music — good music — by chatty folk into what they're talking about.

 

Best Way To Have Concert-Quality Sound In Your Home

Pay musicians to play there

Andrew Rothman gives concerts under the banner of the Detroit Groove Society with his wife, Diane, in their West Bloomfield home; Danilo Perez, Cedar Walton, Michael Weiss are a few of the 20 or so artists they've presented in the last six or seven years. He shared a few pieces of advice for the prospective home-concert promoter when we contacted him the other day. He's a jazz fan, but the advice works regardless of genre. First, realize "the Internet is always your friend" for contacting artists. Second, figure out who is already booked to perform in the area so that their major travel is already paid for; the idea of staying in town an extra day to play in a relaxed enviroment for an attentive audience may be enticing for an affordable fee. The Rothmans charge $40 for adults, $15 for students, and get 35-45 attendees per concert, which more or less breaks even other than food and refreshments for the party. The most important thing, he said, is to remember it's a labor of love. Get on DGS e-mail list by contacting arothman@comcast.net.

 

Best Fire Guild

Detroit Fire Guild
detroitfireguild.com

OK, so there aren't any other "fire guilds," but that doesn't mean this troupe of outlaw circus and fire performers hasn't earned this honor. Rising from the ashes of the former Fire Fabulon group, this group of 20 to 30 Burning Man alums has been playing everywhere from Theatre Bizarre to Hustler Club, surprising people everywhere they go. Lately, they've upped their game, putting on the Winter Ball at the Crofoot's Eagle Theater in Pontiac, a full-on circus with fire dancers, gypsies, clowns and pagan revelry. Don't miss their upcoming show at the Crofoot (9 p.m. on April 30), The Fires of Beltane, a pagan-themed springtime spectacular with trapeze acts and a "human sacrifice." Their goal is to create an immersive experience where the audience wonders where the hell they are, or may even join the out-of-control fun.

 

Best Place to Understand What "garage-ist theater" Means

Planet Ant
2357 Caniff St., Hamtramck; 313-365-4948

Despite Hamtown's dire fiscal straits, the local amateur theater has managed to stay afloat with eye-widening spirit and plenty of blue-collar sweat equity. Kudos to them for that, to be sure, considering the local failure rate of indie enterprises. Located on Caniff — which is, you'll note, Hamtramck's Broadway — where it's still kinda Detroit, the theater's like any other art that manages to thrive in the city; it's gritty and hard-won, but this one's blessed with performers who trade in authenticity. Besides, what are the options?

 

Best Old Speakeasy

Tom's Tavern
10093 W. Seven Mile Rd., Detroit; 313-862-9768

Founder Tom Lucas bought the building in 1928, when Prohibition was law, and when Seven Mile was a dirt road. An astonishing 83 years later, Tom's survives, despite problems. In the last 10 years they've dealt with failed city lighting, a half-dozen break-ins, stolen power hookups, cut gas and water lines and, a few years ago, a car crash that caved in the front of the tavern and killed a woman on the sidewalk. How does it go on living? It's because the tavern's loyal patrons step into the breach whenever the bar is endangered, as volunteers and benefactors. It helps that the tavern has always attracted interesting people, and celeb news anchor Bill Bonds and pizza baron Mike Ilitch have been past patrons and supporters. Owner Ron Gurdjian, who purchased the place from Lucas in 2001, has overseen some radical effort to keep the building safe, and says, after almost a decade of work, it's "almost ready for bad weather." Open mostly on weekends, it's most crowded around Babe Ruth's birthday, when the walls are decked out with Ruth-related quotes and history.

 

Best Karaoke

Auto Tune Karaoke
autotunekaraoke.net

Every Monday night at the Majestic Complex's Garden Bowl and Thursday nights at the River Place Bar, karaoke innovator Adam Pressley hosts Auto Tune Karaoke, where, as he puts it, "We can all be just like Kanye!" Kanye's too cool to have this much fun. The thrills here are cheap and true. Take your best shot at MJ, ABBA or Morris Day, all natural fits for the Auto-Tune treatment — hey, just like radio stars! — or digitize your voice to create playful contrasts and redo Bobby Brown, Björk or the Beatles.

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