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  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race

    If a poll released this week is any indication of how the August 5 primary election will turn out, current Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano has reason to worry, Fox 2 reports. Ficano, who’s seeking a third term, polled in fourth place — behind former Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans, Westland Mayor Bill Wild and Wayne County Commissioner Phil Cavanaugh, according to Fox 2. The poll by Strategic Solutions LLC, showed 6.7 percent of respondents said they’d vote for Ficano, which isn’t so bad: He finished ahead of County Commissioner Kevin McNamara (who came in at No. 6) and someone literally described as “a candidate not named here” (who polled at No. 5.) If you’re planning to head to the polls — which you should! — and need some input on the candidates and ballot proposals, you can read for our election coverage in this week’s Metro Times.

    The post Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • A Mad Decent Mixtape

    Mad Decent Block Party will roll through town on Saturday, August 16, bringing to town artists like Dillon Francis, Diplo, Flosstradamus, RiFF RAFF, Keys N Krates, and Zeds Dead. Thugli, a Canadian duo, will perform on the Toronto leg of the tour and they put together a 45 minute mix that features songs by some of the tour’s featured artists as well as a host of others.  Listen to it here. 

    The post A Mad Decent Mixtape appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders

    Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host a special event this Saturday, July 26 in hopes of raising money for the local faction of an international nonprofit, Burners without Borders Detroit. Breaking Borders is a one-evening-only event that will feature live music, performance, and art. Satori Circus will perform along with spoken word artist ZakAndWhatArmy. Music by Tartanic, Dixon’s Violin, and Servitor. Fire dancers, hoop performers, and acrobats will provide a certain mysticism to the ambiance as old Victorian steampunk and tribal art is shown in the main gallery. There will also be a runway fashion show and the evening will end with a dubstep rave featuring DJ Forcefeed and Dotty. Truly, there’s something for everyone. Perhaps more importantly, there will be a full service bar. The event is open to those 18 and older and IDs will be checked at the door. Admission is $25 at the door, or $20 with the donation of a canned good. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the party goes until 2 a.m. A 20 percent commission will be taken from all art sold at this event and donated to Burners without Borders. The Tangent Gallery is located at 715 Milwaukee Ave., Detroit; 313-873-2955; tangentgallery.com.

    The post Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project

    By Amanda Mooney There’s a lot that goes into producing a film, and unless you are a filmmaker you really have no idea. Writing, casting, finding a location, shooting, and editing; each step of the process can take days, months, and sometimes years to complete. Can you imagine doing it ALL in just 48 hours? The 48 Hour Film Project is an annual competition that takes place all over the world in various cities. According to Mike Madigan, head of the Detroit 48 Hour chapter, the city is one of the largest participating in terms of the number of teams. The competing teams go in blind as to what kind of film they will be producing, with no creative planning beyond getting a cast and crew together, Madigan explained. “They pick a genre out of a hat, and they get a line, a prop, and a character. And they have to incorporate that within a short film, that’s usually between 4 to 7 minutes long. And they have the timeframe of doing it all within 48 hours,” said Madigan, “So all the creative process of it all has to happen within that 48 hour–writing a script, putting it together, editing–to […]

    The post 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Passalacqua debut dark project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space

    Church: Revival is the new project by local rap duo Passalacqua (aka Bryan Lackner and Brent Smith), but it’s more than just a new Passalacqua release. The rappers teamed up with siblings Jax Anderson (frontwoman of rockers Flint Eastwood) and Seth Anderson, who together form the songwriting team called Syblyng (naturally). The result is a cycle of songs that promises to be darker than Passalacqua’s material so far. The project will make a live debut on Saturday, July 26 at a brand new venue space at the Detroit Bus Co.’s building Eight & Sand, and they will premiere the Right Bros.-directed video for the track “Baptism” as well. Other performances include Tunde Olaniran and Open Mike Eagle, and DJ sets by Nothing Elegant, Dante LaSalle, and Charles Trees. We met up the two duos at Eight & Sand to check out the new space and to talk about the project with all parties involved. Metro Times: How long have you been working together? Jax Anderson: Seth and I are constantly writing songs together. We want to push in the direction of becoming songwriters more frequently. This is our first project that we took on to co-write everything together. We’re basically just a songwriting entity. We won’t play live that […]

    The post Passalacqua debut dark project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Best of Detroit 2011

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Photo: Marvin Shaouni

The Real Deals - Staff Picks

Our staff counters with our own favorite places to plunk own them bones

Best Rocktitude

Showtime Clothing's Dan Tartarian
5708 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-875-9280

When Dan Tartarian opens his shop's doors, he doesn't wait long to see his first customer stroll in. Said customer's usually a musician or is in some way tied to the city's music community, or is a kind of sartorial strutter into a particular scene, or it's likely they've known Tartarian for years and play into his penchant for shootin' the shit.

Coming up on 22 years in business, Tartarian's approach to being a clothier follows the old adage about ailment and doctors; as long as one exists we'll need the other. As long as there's a thriving music scene, there's a need for Showtime. The shop carries staples, with hats, shoes, pants, T-shirts, buttonups, motorcycle jackets, trench coats and even guitars. And, it's the only place where you can buy a mandolin, a set of handcuffs, killer miniskirts, a Nashville button-up, a gas mask, a riding crop, a head-to-toe Kiss brand Gene Simmons outfit, and a Made in Detroit zip-up and creepers. It's as if Tartarian raided closets of Janis, Hendrix, Trent Reznor, Stone Temple Pilots, Rancid, Slade and Sgt. Pepper's-era Beatles. Guitar cords, picks, strings and slides are in close vicinity to rolling papers and incense. Tartarian knows his client.

Many of his visitors — from, say, your average customer to Crud to the Contours — often arrive ready to talk Detroit. See, Tartarian's a concerned citizen, an old school Cass Corridor guy — a Detroiter through and through. He sees, for example, the recent Midtown rebranding and subsequent efforts to commercialize the cultural district, where his shop is located, as an attack on the neighborhood.

What's the difference between Cass Corridor neighborhood and Midtown, you ask?

"We lost our blind pig customers, guys with cash in their pockets. The guys who ran numbers would come in here, the mob guys, the motorcycle gangs, they'd all come in," Tartarian says.

From the '70s to the '90s, Detroit's underworld helped support this clothier. "They're pushing the motorcycle gangs farther and father out of the city. They all had money from illegal enterprises, but they had money. Unlike the casinos, who are the guys running numbers now, don't put the money they make back on the streets. I'd rather have the guy on the street running his private, neighborhood enterprise than greedy big business."

Tartarian sees the positives of rejuvenation, but says "At what cost? Fuck Whole Foods. Fuck Trader Joe's."

And don't get him started on the "hipsters."

Actually, do, but bring him a coffee and a CD of something local that you're listening to.

"I've seen and dressed a lot of bands, a lot that've been able to break out of here," Tartarian says. "There's been Trash Brats, Sponge, Kid Rock, Eminem and ICP. There's Sista Otis and Brothers Groove, Ty Stone, The Sights, Doop and the Inside Outlaws, and Whitey Morgan." Sponge's Vinnie Dombrowski is probably his fave.

"I like music, so I'm always out seeing bands." he says. "My social life is my business life. What can I say? I'm hands-on."

A perennial MT Best-of winner, Dan Tartarian's Showtime Clothing is a Detroit cultural hub; there's no other place like it. - Travis R Wright

 

Best Way to Get Free Culture

Museum Adventure Pass
detroitadventurepass.org

Available at more than 200 libraries in nine southeast Michigan counties, the passes grant patrons free admission to dozens of museums and other cultural institutions. Use your library card to check one out for a week. They're available on a first-come, first-served basis, using a library card, and allow two or four people entry on each pass, depending on the location. Sponsored by Macy's, the passes are in their fourth season. We'd suggest you make a small donation during your visit.

 

Best Wedding/Event Planner

Adrienne Nutter, Fandangle Event Designs
Grosse Pointe Park; 313-566-9221; fandangleevents.com

From 300-guest weddings to corporate gigs to small retirement parties, Fandangle's proprietor Adrienne Nutter makes them all special for those lucky enough to attend. If brides, grooms and other party hosts are looking for a personalized event, Fandangle is up for the challenge — as big or as intimate as the clients want. Nutter, who has a degree in art history and is a bit of a font-phile, coordinates graphic design elements and color schemes in printed materials from the Save-the-Date to the Thank-You cards. Ordering online is easy, but who wants what everyone else had? One of Nutter's clever favorites: elements that are multi-use. Think wedding favors that double as seating cards, centerpieces that double as favors. Saves money and impresses guests with the creativity factor.

 

Best Unique Wedding Venue

Model T-Plex
461 Piquette St., Detroit; tplex.org

Formally known as the Model T Automotive Heritage Complex, the T-Plex brings that perfect blend of Detroit grittiness and automotive history assembled with a creative approach to modern entrepreneurialism. Where else would a largely intact factory be rented out for formal parties? A Motor City original for a Motor City event, that's what the T-Plex can be. And don't worry, with the right designs it can be plenty elegant. Located in the New Center area, the building maintains its red brick exterior, albeit with modern graffiti on some walls. Inside, it's a step back in time with original fixtures, firewalls and flooring. Various Model T's and other early 20th century Ford models are on display. Anyone can rent strolling swans; who can have vintage cars?

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