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  • 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 new 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 new project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan

    #150207742 / As locals continue to flood Detroit streets to protest the city’s ongoing water debacle, one national organization is hoping to be part of the solution — that is, for a dietary price. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA as the organization is more commonly known, has offered to pay outstanding water bills for 10 Detroiters who are willing to go vegan for one month. “Vegan meals take far less of a toll on the Earth’s resources,” PETA representatives said in a recent press release. “It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce just a pound of meat but only about 155 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat.” PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk adds, “Vegan meals are also a cost-effective way to help prevent health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart conditions, the last thing that someone who is struggling financially needs to deal with.” Folks interested in participating are asked to send a copy of their most recent overdue water bill and their written pledge to go vegan for one month to PETA Attn: Detroit Water at 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510 before Aug. 1.

    The post PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Dinner Club Does Brunch

    Sure, The Dinner Club, a regularly occurring pop-up that takes places at the Storefront Gallery  in Ferndale (and other locations, occasionally), usually happens around dinner time, but this Sunday, July 27, there will be a special edition: Brunch Chef Matthew Baldridge, who’s resume includes stints at such Detroit greats as Cliff Bell’s, The Rattlesnake Club, and Seldom Blues, has crafted a menu of French-inspired items that employ locally procured ingredients. Brunch includes four courses where guests will be treated to such delights as cocoa, cinnamon, chili-spiced creamy grits with pickled strawberries, cocoa puffs and strawberry-infused syrup, a smoked gouda potato gallette with Faygo Root Beer braised pork belly, quail egg and Faygo Root Beer syrup, banana marscapone-filled French toast with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and balsamic syrup, and champagne-soaked strawberries. It is also important to note that brunch is BYOChampagne. Baldridge, along with The Storefront Gallery’s Derek John and Lilacpop Studio owner and artist Janna Coumoundouros, curate the event that includes an art show, a great playlist, and visuals. Brunch services are at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and last about two hours, only 20 seats are available at each service. The cost is $25 plus a service fee. The Storefront Gallery […]

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  • Jurassic 5 holds onto what’s golden

      By Ashley Zlatopolsky It’s been a little over twenty years since iconic ‘90s alternative hip-hop group Jurassic 5 first formed in Los Angeles’ Good Life club. Widely regarded as a pivotal influence in the decade’s underground hip-hop movement by critics and fans alike, the six-piece crew consisting of two DJs (Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark) and four MCs (Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7 and Chali 2na) were well on their way to becoming one of hip-hop’s greatest and most powerful acts of all time, ranking alongside names such as Public Enemy and N.W.A. with socially-conscious lyrics and smooth beats paired with smart sampling. But in 2004, Cut Chemist left the group to pursue a solo career, and in 2007 Jurassic 5 completely called it quits after nearly 15 years of music. And that was it for the crew until 2013. After almost seven years apart (nine for Cut Chemist), Jurassic 5 reunited and re-emerged stronger than ever before with a new flair, seasoned attitude, and more vibrant energy at Coachella Music Festival, the group’s first show with the original six members since Cut Chemist split. During their performance, Jurassic 5 gave fans a memorable concert revisiting all the classic feel-good tracks […]

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  • Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks

    Dogs of Detroit have new territory to trot: Yesterday, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy held a soft opening for a 20-acre westward extension of the Riverwalk. Part of a planned two-mile track of the West Riverwalk, the new span runs from the Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks Boulevard, says Mark Pasco, director of communications for the conservancy. “It’s going to be great,” Pasco says. “It’s a wide open green space. It’s going to be great for activities.” The endgame for the Riverwalk, Pasco notes, is to extend the walkway from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park, just past the MacArthur Bridge — about a 5.5. mile route. The new westward expansion is wider than most of the walkway, about 30 feet, says Pasco — a decision made by the conservancy to accommodate fisherman that previously frequented the area. “We knew … once it opened up they’d want to fish there again, so we made the Riverwalk itself wider,” Pasco says. The conservancy will hold a grand opening in late September, which will include “food and music and activities,” Pasco says, though no official date has been set.

    The post Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Best of Detroit 2011


Photo: Marvin Shaouni

The Real Deals - Staff Picks

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


Best New Indie Label

Five Three Dial Tone Records

Making up for their Eat This City blog, baghead Jasper and blowhard Jay got their shit together last year to actually do something productive. That something: A vinyl-heavy record label featuring some of the city's more promising indie acts. The first release on 53DT was Deastro's Spritle in 2009, a release that was, in old-school record biz lingo, downright visionary. The label was quiet for about a year, then, starting with 52 Week High's Eznovah, they went on a "visionary" tear, dropping two Lettercamp records, then a couple seven-inch EPs from the Satin Peaches and Illy Mack. During Blowout this past March, they sold 333 cassettes of their White Stripes tribute, Hello Operator, featuring high talent in Mick Bassett, Will Yates, Child Bite, Carjack and Lightning Love, to name a few contributing acts. Speaking of Blowout, on May 21, 53DT will release Phantasmagoria's debut EP, on vinyl, at the Belmont. Dudes have their finger on Detroit's indie rock's emotive energy.


Best Video Store

Thomas Video
4732 Rochester Rd., Royal Oak; 248-280-2833;

The original and still the champ, Thomas Video was the pioneer back in the hazy days of Betamax and LaserDisc, and now with Netflix, streaming and the mammoth chains continuing to bellyflop, they seem intent on being the last video store standing. Eternal punks Jim Olenski and Gary Reichel still firmly believe that a video store should be a repository of cinema art and wisdom, not just an anonymous grocery store box you dump Cheeto-stained copies of Yogi Bear into. The vastly knowledgeable and occasionally friendly staff at Thomas will guide you through the video wasteland into a wide world of cult, sci-fi, horror, foreign, anime, comedy, classics and more that you can't get anywhere else anymore.


Best Local T-Shirts

Down With Detroit

The simple screen of Tom Selleck's face under a Detroit Tigers cap is captioned with "W.W.M.D." Or perhaps you'd love to sport "I partied at the Manoogian." Other shirts pay homage to Russian Red Wings, Wayne Fontes and "M.F.I.C., 1974-1993." Designs reflect the state and city borders, neighborhood names and lakes and rivers. Sometimes they're timely: "Ernie is my Tiger" was a best-seller in the weeks following his passing. For quirky slogans, vintage images (Boblo boats, anyone?) and unique showings of Detroit and Michigan pride, shop here.


Best New City Brand

Aptemal Clothing

Here are a few gem phrases we've seen plastered on T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts around town in the past year; chances are you've seen 'em, too: "Brown Weed is for Suckas!" ... "Make Moves Not War" ... "Hoes Hate Me." You've seen them, right? Yes? No? OK, try this one: "Detroit Hustles Harder." That one's inescapable, to the extent that it's become somewhat of a new Motor City mantra. The Aptemal crew (now selling a killer $5 Detroit Hustles Harder compilation CD) can be found hustling at Eastern Market's Division Street Boutique and hustling harder at almost every local hip-hop show around town.


Best Vintage Clothing Store

Rachel's Place
2124 Pine St., Detroit; 313-964-9008

This two-year-old shop in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood is chock-full of vintage duds, from triple-digit designer pieces to breezy summer dresses available for less than $20. Occupying two floors of an ancient brownstone, the shop's wood floors practically creak under the weight of countless garment racks filled with top-notch men and women's vintage wear in a range of sizes and styles. The shop also features a wide selection of hats, jewelry, coats, purses and shoes. Intimidated by so many choices? Just rely on the bubbly and ever-smiling proprietor Rachel Leggs to steer you in the right direction.


Best Reuse of Old Skirts

Lovely Bag Ladies

Two nimble-fingered art history grads joined creative forces to form Lovely Bag Ladies. The product they're hawking? Stylish purses created from vintage fabrics and materials, mainly, vintage skirts. Sharmila Majumdar and Kaytee Querro hand-sew their fabulous and functional bags in Ferndale, and each one is made from at least 98 percent recycled materials, making them environmentally as well as style savvy. They come in a variety of colors, styles and materials, featuring simple design ranging from birds and pandas to hot air balloons and flying saucers. Many also sport the original buttons, zippers and pockets of the skirts they're fashioned from. You can buy your very own through their Etsy shop or at Hybrid Moments in Ferndale.


Best Place for a Splurge on a Dress

Third Floor at Saks Fifth Avenue, Somerset Collection
2901 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-643-9000;

Ascending the escalator into this wonderland of silk and taffeta is a combination of Alice falling down the rabbit hole and Charlie discovering what's inside the chocolate factory. Sure, it might cost you (or your significant other) the better part of a paycheck, but there are sales where deals can be had. And there are times when, frankly, quality wins out over the thrill of a bargain find. Sales manager Denise Kulak understands all that. She'll work with your budget, your figure and your personality to help you into the perfect flirty cocktail dress or elegant ball gown.


Best Food Delivery Business

Hot Spokes

Take-out delivered via bike may not be big news in most major cities, but as are many things, it's a bit of a novelty in Detroit. But novelty or not, it also makes sense — pedaling from Midtown to downtown takes noticeably less time than fighting traffic and hunting down a parking spot (and who ever has change for the meter?) Enter Hot Spokes, a recent upstart delivering lentil burgers and dumpling from three Midtown eateries — Shangri-La, Union Street and Cass Cafe — to New Center, Woodbridge, downtown, Cass Corridor and the medical center. Delivery is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs a mere $3. Just call the restaurant to order, then sit back and relax while your food speeds toward you on two wheels.


Best Barbershop for Football Talk

The Clip Joint
8260 Cooley Lake Rd., Commerce Township

For 54 years, Jim Bastas has trimmed, shaved and cut hair, first at his northwest Detroit storefront, now in Commerce Township. And for 54 years, his customers have experienced his love for the Green Bay Packers. It's pretty obvious in his two-chair shop adorned with photos, signed helmets, ticket stubs and other memorabilia. Bastas, a Detroit native, switched allegiances from the Lions when one of his high school classmates was drafted by the Pack.


Best Way to Be on a Boat

Detroit Princess
Docked behind Cobo Arena; 877-DET-BOAT;

If you're ready to prance on an upper deck, wave at your friends on shore and proclaim, "I'm on a boat, take a good hard look," buy your ticket for a Detroit Princess cruise. Captain Scott will pilot the riverboat while guests eat, drink, dance and stroll the five levels, inside and out. You'll get stunning views of the Detroit and Windsor skylines, a bird's-eye view of Belle Isle and a great look at the expanse of Lake St. Clair. Enjoy a red wine on the starboard bow for weddings, birthdays, lunch outings or evening outings. Tuxedos, flippy-floppies and blow-up dolphins optional.


Best Happy Fishmonger

Diane Finken at Blue Bay Fish & Seafood
19561 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods; 313-824-3474

You'd smile too if you sold the freshest fish in town, crafted some of the best seafood soup and sent it all home with customers who you know will be more than satisfied. Diane Finken last year moved her fish and seafood retailer and catering from Grosse Pointe Park to a higher-traffic storefront in Grosse Pointe Woods. She's lost none of the quality and gained customers. Try the tart key lime pie, the creamy whitefish spread and the ever-changing specials Finken makes. Cooking classes have started too, so you can try to re-create her magic at home.


Best New Specialty Food Shop

Giuseppe's Oil and Vinegar
The Mall at Partridge Creek, 17420 Hall Rd., Space No. 199, Clinton Twp.; 586-263-4200;

And you thought "oil and vinegar" was simple, right? Sterling Heights residents Joe and Wendy Cucinello have just established this new business in Clinton Township, and the concept is novel: High-quality oils and vinegars. Right now, they stock a dozen different all-natural virgin olive oils from all over the world — including Australia, Sicily, Portugal, Tunisia and Chile. Not only can you learn each oil's "crush date," but they rank each on an "intensity scale." They also sell almost a dozen flavored extra virgin olive oils, in addition to white and black truffle oil. You'll also find more than a dozen dark balsamic vinegars (including blueberry?) and five light (including peach?). With their personal expertise, this sounds like a place to kick your salad dressings up about 10 notches.


Best Store for Locavores

15104 Kercheval St., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-432-2373;

Business partners James Folden and Michell Danel opened this store a few months ago, and held the official ribbon-cutting last week. Hoping to offer the widest possible dietary options for an increasingly sophisticated public, they both have agricultural backgrounds and have been involved with several urban farms in Detroit. What do they sell? Everything from local Michigan fish from North of the Huron to local organic free-range chicken, even local free-range eggs. Their cheese is from Detroit's Traffic Jam, and they offer locally roasted, fair-trade coffee, as well as smoothies and raw juices. This summer, they'll even have fresh, whole-fruit, sugarless popsicles. You can even mix up your own bowl of grain, salad, and other raw, cooked or cold ingredients. Sounds like a promising food business on the east side.


Best Leftover Advertising for a Former Business

Bricks in the outside wall of the Anchor Bar
450 W Fort St., Detroit; 313-964-9127;

It's a subtle, lingering bit of history, that geometric brick pattern on the outside walls of the Anchor Bar, watering hole of Detroit's ink-stained scribes. The Anchor building is the long-gone office of a brick company. The building was planned as a skyscraper but only made it up two stories when the Great Depression hit. As a sample display, the owner used a variety of bricks on the outside walls. Their variety of colors and textures make the walls one of the most unusual downtown.

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