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  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Stir It Up

A Detroit community plans for survival

The Lower Eastside Action Plan is more than a LEAP of faith

I've never really heard the term lower east side used in reference to Detroit. I've heard of the near east side and far east side, but the lower east side sounds like some kind of New York thing. As it turns out, though, the folks on the lower east side know exactly where they are and who they are. Possibly most important at this point, they now have a plan to continue being there in the future.

Phase I of the Lower Eastside Action Plan (LEAP), created by a clutch of eastside community development groups and primarily funded by the Erb Family Foundation, was formally rolled out last week at the Northeast Guidance Center, where more than 100 people squeezed into a meeting room to see a multimedia presentation. Most of the folks in the room were familiar with parts of the plan because they are the ones who've done the work of putting it together over the past two years. 

Some of them literally went street by street, house by house and lot by lot through the area bounded by the Detroit River on the south, I-94 on the north, Mount Elliott on the west and Alter to the east — making up about 15.5 of the city's 139 square miles — in order to know exactly what is there and in what condition. There are so many community organizations, churches, businesses and foundations involved in this massive undertaking that it would take up at least half this column space just to list them. But if last Thursday's meeting was any indication, those community groups can get their people out and involved — which bodes well for this from-the-ground-up effort.

Getting people involved may be the most important part of the process. Rather than saying "something needs to be done," these people are saying, "I'm going to do something about this." Maybe that's just the point many Detroiters have come to — nobody's going to save us but ourselves. The bottom line is that involved citizens can make an impact; uninterested people won't.

"What I took away from the process is the community's ability to really grasp very technical information," says Khalil Ligon, project manager for LEAP. "We tried to make it user-friendly and use information in a nonjudgmental way. They were able to take that information and digest it and use it to shape plans for their neighborhoods and make very sensible choices. That really stood out for me — how people were able to take that information and shape a plan. They got it. ...

"Instead of waiting around for something to be done, LEAP is a collective community response to the conditions of our neighborhood."

LEAP is broken down into short-term interventions and long-term goals. There's little that is amazing and new about these plans: things like neighborhood stabilization, urban agriculture, greenways and business stimulation. We've heard about this kind of stuff before. What makes it stand out are not the goals but the level of buy-in from the community, the use of uniform criteria to evaluate proposed efforts in varied neighborhoods, and the step-by-step process established for getting things accomplished. 

Every proposal faces the same set of questions: how it will affect neighborhood stabilization, what's the impact on the immediate area, what's the economic benefit, what's the environmental impact and how does it benefit the city in general? 

One project is the Community-Based Food Processing Business Incubator sponsored by the Eastern Market Corporation and GenesisHOPE Community Development Corporation. There's recently been a movement to grow food on the city's vacant land, but the effort has mostly resulted in putting fresh produce onto the tables of growers. There hasn't been much done in terms of developing local food businesses from them. LEAP hopes to bridge that gap by using the old decommissioned Marcus Garvey Jr. school building and the new active Garvey school with their commercial kitchens for food processing and to create a small business incubator to nurture food product businesses. Jeanine Hatcher, executive director of GenesisHOPE, says this will repurpose land and buildings, increase access to healthy food, and create viable businesses that will generate jobs. LEAP will be seeking matching funds from the United States Department of Agriculture this coming fall to make this project more viable.

One of the most potentially visible plans is the Mack Avenue Green Thoroughfare Project sponsored by the Warren Conner Development Corporation and Eastside LAND, Inc. This project seeks the demolition of abandoned commercial buildings so that low-maintenance greenery can be planted on the lots. This will improve safety and clean up the neighborhood in the short term. In the long term, the cleaned-up land may be attractive to future business ventures. In addition, the plan has provisions for working with local businesses in the blighted areas to help them move to more densely populated areas on Mack or elsewhere in the neighborhood. 

Hantz Farms, a private business project that engendered some local controversy a couple of years ago, has gotten behind a Horticultural and Hydroponic Commercial Farm. This is very different from the first flag the organization ran up the pole. A big difference is that they now have buy-in from locals who plan to lobby City Council on behalf of the project. Hantz Farms plans to utilize as much as 500 acres of land to create a commercial forest of high-value hardwood trees, a Christmas tree farm, orchards and indoor hydroponic growing sites. LEAP members will serve on the farm's advisory board. A representative from Hantz Farms said there will be a limited number of jobs available that pay $10 per hour with benefits.

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