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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

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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 Random Act of Kindness

Detroit Party Marching Band
facebook.com/detroitpartymarchingband

You never know when they'll strike, but the second they do, you'll know it. Since literally crashing the scene a little more than a year ago, the Detroit Party Marching Band has quickly become somewhat of a Detroit institution. The only group of their kind in Michigan, DPMB is actually among other renegade marching bands across the country. Founded by Molly, Rachel Harkai and John Notarianni, the band is made up of a rotating cast of players who show up, unannounced, when they can. They crash bars, parades, concerts and music festivals, and we hear they do weddings too! Really, it's a blast.

 

Best Reason to Wait in Line

The Moth at Cliff Bell's
2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543; themoth.com/storyslams_detroit

The Moth StorySLAM — which happens monthly in New York, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles — is a communal throwdown of hopefully artful orators. The gist is this: Participants drop their names in a hat and 10 are chosen at random. Judged by audience members, storytellers have five minutes to tell a true tale that somehow relates to the evening's theme. WDET's Alex Trajano starts the show at Cliff Bell's around 7 p.m., but people — and this is how it's been since Day One — start lining up around 4:30 p.m. Call it a public confessional or some booze-fueled group therapy session, there really isn't anything like the Moth. And it's worth the wait.

 

Best Bar to Take Your Parents

Dakota Inn
17324 John R St., Detroit; 313-867-9722; dakota-inn.com

The Dakota Inn is no secret to Detroit faithful, who've been coming to this family-owned German rathskeller for 78 years for traditional hearty fare, heavy brews and festive German music and dancing. But for many metro Detroiters, this diamond in the rough remains a hidden gem — one whose long history and distinct character deserves recognition from both young and old. Billed as Detroit's only authentic German bar, Dakota Inn was opened in 1933 by German immigrant Karl Kurz. Now run by the third generation of the family, the place hasn't altered much in the intervening years — creamy potato salad, potato pancakes, spaetzle and pork are still on the menu; heavy wooden tables are still crowded with large glass mugs of seasonal German beers; and tipsy revelers still chicken dance, waltz, polka and sing the traditional Schnitzelbank drinking song. Many of the patrons are old-timers who've been coming to Oktoberfests and holiday sing-alongs in the obligatory chicken hat for years, which makes it the perfect spot for new Detroit boosters — hipsters, young professionals, artistic transplants — to bring their parents to show off some tradition in a place that's survived the city's ups and downs. Not to mention giving moms and pops an old-school, foot-stomping, waltz of a time.

 

Best Drunken Secret

"C.O.D."

Maybe we're exposing somewhat of a secret here, maybe we're not, but, hey, Metro Times is all about transparency. So, check it: There are a few bars around the city (we won't out 'em) in which you might overhear someone order a beer "C.O.D." — a password that pays. What they're implying is that they're a resident of the city, have the I.D. to prove it, and would kindly accept the bar's offer of taking a cool buck off that drink. And people say there aren't perks to living in the city. But it's also pass code for "I dig your establishment and come here often" and "I give a shit about my community." If it weren't free already, we'd totally offer MT, C.O.D.

 

Best Bar For Pressing Flesh

Roast's Happy Hour
1128 Washington Blvd., Detroit; 313-961-2500; roastdetroit.com

Readers voted Roast the Best Happy Hour in Detroit this year, but we felt the need to dually note that between the hours of 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., its bar offers absolutely exceptional networking opportunities, professionally and socially. Detroiters from a bevy of mostly interesting working backgrounds meet there in small groups Monday through Friday. Conversations bounce among friends and strangers as fast as the beer, wine and tacos can flow. You'll see smiles and business cards swapping amid the crowd. City initiatives are discussed, debated or flat-out dissed behind the polite clank of bourbon shots. Behind the bar, you'll meet your host, director of wine and service Joseph Allerton. He's a courteous chap and a seasoned pro with a sick palate and a sturdy handshake. His wine list is calculated, but his beer list is tastefully ambitious, featuring the Midwest's best brewery, Jolly Pumpkin.

 

Best Bar for Michigan Beer

Grand Trunk Pub
612 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-3043; grandtrunkpub.com

We hear there's actually a group that's petitioning Lansing to riff on our Great Lakes State title and promote itself, via billboards, license plates and some sort of media campaign, as the Great Beer State. Amen! You name the style and we can point you to a bar that carries 14 Michigan Beers on tap and a whole slew of top-shelf farmhouse ales and I.P.A. and E.S.B., stouts and porters, wheats, reds, pilsners and Belgians by the bottle. The famed former ticket office that serviced the Grand Trunk Railroad, the space has gone by a few different names (Foran's, Eph's). Its current body, so very Detroit, is a little bigger but totally beautiful. Having absorbed the deli next door, there's now also a slimmer food menu and more room to drink beer. And they have an incredibly eccentric crew of people there: Brian, Amy, Pauly, Susan and Melissa are all awesome. New upstairs neighbor Motor City Wine is the froth on Grand Trunk's Pure Michigan pint.

 

Best Alt Venues - 3 way Tie

The Bakery Loft
4304 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 248-379-0194

The Park Bar
2040 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-962-2933; parkbardetroit.com

Sparklewood
Northend Studios, 2937 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit

This past year saw a resurgence of popularity in awesome programming from alternative venues. Mexicantown's Bakery Loft, Foxtown's Park Bar and New Center's Sparklewood haven't only carved out places for themselves in our sprawling and, um, always-splendorous community, but each houses other artful events and enterprises, as well, and maintains certain charms and milieu.

 

Best New Music Venue

The Bakery Loft
Above Mexicantown Bakery, 4304 W. Vernor, Detroit

Home of the Detroit SOUP phenomenon (monthly dinners that provide mini-grant funding to worthy projects happening in Detroit), the Bakery Loft has also become the sweet under-the-radar spot to catch shows from both local and touring up-and-coming indie acts. The high-ceilings and exposed brick walls make the small space feel roomy but still intimate, cozy but not stifling. Chandeliers provide appropriately dim lighting, while a smattering of small tables add to the homey vibe. Tucked in a corner and decked out with sparkling lights, the stage provides ample room for both performer and spectator to shimmy and shake. At a recent Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas show, a packed house nearly busted through the wood floors thanks to their fervent dance moves (and despite being pleasantly stuffed on complimentary Mexican grub). Other acts that have performed at the Bakery Loft include the Growlers, Dark Dark Dark, DOM, Dolphins into the Future, Zoos of Berlin and Child Bite.

 

Best Hope for a Jazz Temple

New owners at Baker's Keyboard Lounge
20510 Livernois Ave., Detroit; 313-345-6300

Jazz fans and followers watched with dismay the sinking fortunes of Baker's Keyboard Lounge. Begun in 1934, it had seen see-saw ups and downs at least since the late '70s, undergone a major revival in the late '90s with owner John Colbert, then slowly let its musical mojo ebb away in the '00s. Came the recession and other woes, and the club ended up on the bankruptcy block last year. But Hugh Smith and Eric Whitaker have said their aim is to preserve their $395,000 January purchase as a jazz spot. They've yet to give the club a physical makeover, or, more important, put the sizzle into the lineup that the club needs to get noticed again and make itself consistently competitive with Cliff Bell's, for instance. But besides nostalgia, Baker's has sight lines and acoustics that makes it a first-rate listening room (and a romantic one at that with its cozy wall booths). After their big investment, the challenge for Smith and Whitaker will be closing a new deal with the jazz audience as well.

 

Best House Bar

Atlas Bar
2363 Yemans St., Hamtramck

Hamtramck is the densest city in Michigan, and you don't get that way with late 20th century zoning rules. Houses are jammed together, people live on top of each other, and bars — well, sometimes a bar will be in a house ... in the middle of a neighborhood. One of the last survivors in this regard is the fixture at the corner of Brombach and Yemans, formerly Roadrunner's Raft, and, before that, Joe and Carol's Bar. Under new management for more than a year now, some of the blue-collar atmo has given way to a lounge feel, and the schedule of weekend entertainment has certainly picked up. But, on a late night in Hamtramck, it's still one of the best places to go around closing time, if only to meet some characters before moseying on — to your own "house bar."

 

Best New Outdoor Concert Venue

New Center Park
Second Avenue and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit; newcenterpark.com

While the demise of City Fest was and is lamented by those of us who enjoyed gorging ourselves on samosa and quesadillas while watching free show after free show, New Center Park is no small consolation. Located in the shadow of the towering Fisher Building, the brand-new green space — complete with an outdoor stage, concession venue and full bar — opened last Fourth of July weekend with a four-day mini-fest of local music and continued providing free, kick-ass entertainment for the next 14 weeks. The spot hosted weekly weekend rock shows, a jazz and blues happy hour every Thursday, Saturday kids activities, reggae lunchtime concerts, a fashion show, a fall music fest, dance parties and picnics. And did we mention that it's all free? And that the shows featured stellar local bands? When the weather (finally) turns warm, expect more of the same, as well as a Wednesday night film series and a harvest market.

 

Best Combo of Sights & Sounds

Hott Lava
Held at various Ann Arbor locations; visit hottlava.net

At its core, Hott Lava is a film event showcasing new and old experimental, avant-garde and obscure offerings. But really, it defies easy definition thanks to the myriad elements a Hott Lava happening always involves. Usually, the odd sights are matched with intriguing live soundtracks provided by experimental and avant-garde musicians — past performers have included Jesus Lizard bassist David Wm. Sims, ambient duo Mountains, jazz experimentalists Chicago Underground Duo, psychedelic group Moon Duo and multimedia musician Flying Lotus. Then, after the screening, the audience can shake off the brain-bending visuals with some visceral body-bending at dance parties featuring some of Detroit's and Ann Arbor's worthiest DJs. But refusing to be boxed into the film-plus-music-plus-dance-party formula, the tastemaking provocateurs of Hott Lava have also hosted midnight movies, concert afterparties, touring film festivals and multimedia installations.

 

Best Antidote to a Beer Belly

Roller Races

There's nothing like working on your beer gut and working it off at the same time. The new trend that popped up in the last year of racing on stationary bikes in bars allows for just such a thing — drink, race, drink some more. Bikers who usually hibernate during fall rains and winter snows can stay in shape, maintain their skills and show-off in front of bar flies and curious first-timers. It's a new way to pick up chicks, settle scores and challenge friends and strangers for free beers. The Hub bike shop hosts races — Hubsprints — every first and third Thursday at Third Street Bar in Detroit. It's $5 to race for prizes, and $2 to restore your pride with a grudge match. They've even introduced tandem races so teams of two can pedal hard and fast against each other. And in a run up to this July's Criterium Detroit City — a USAC sanctioned bike race through the streets of downtown — the organizers of the CDC have been hosting roller races timed to coincide with Detroit's monthly Critical Mass bike rides at various bars and restaurants in Detroit. Next up is this Friday at Foran's Grand Trunk Pub. Race to nowhere, beer in hand.

 

Best introduction to opera

Dr. Wallace Peace's pre-performance lectures at Michigan Opera Theater

Show up one hour early for the free Opera Talk by Dr. Wallace Peace, aka Dr. Opera. You get the historical and musicological context for each opera — which is to say you get all that high-art stuff. But Peace underlines the real reasons that opera was a popular entertainment in its heyday: glorious, soaring melodies in the service of over-the-top, improbable stories of love, lust, betrayal, mistaken identities and mayhem. Playing his examples on a boombox cassette machine (so populist), Peace delivers excerpts of the operatic greats. But even here his inveterate sense of humor can come in — for instance, playing the trio of Joan Sutherland, Dinah Shore and Ella Fitzgerald to illustrate The Mikado's "Three Little Maids from School." The next MOT production — the last for the spring season — is Verdi's Rigoletto, May 14-22. Details at motopera.org.

 

Best Venue Idea for 2011

Quarantine the "Patients"

An open letter to bars and venues with semi-discrete patios, decks, back yards, and the like:

Please consider subtly designating a space where those carrying proper credentials can huddle up and pass a couple joints around. What if DTE Music Theatre, Meadowbrook Amphitheater, Hart Plaza or even New Center Park had designated areas for card-carrying tokers? Would people put up with such a public cloud of weed smoke? Alley Deck? Hockeytown Cafe? Old Miami? Crofoot? Charge extra to smoke in peace upstairs in the horseshoe at St. Andrew's? Get in on the green economy, ya'll. Find a way. You're missing out. — Times High Council

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