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  • 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 […]

    The post Dinner Club Does Brunch appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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 […]

    The post Jurassic 5 holds onto what’s golden appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

  • DJ Josh Cheon shares his favorite darkwave tracks

    San Francisco’s Josh Cheon runs the darkwave revival label Dark Entries and is a member of the Honey Soundsystem DJ collective. This Saturday, July 26, Macho City switch out of disco mode and get a little gothic, bringing the Dark Entries 5th Anniversary Tour to town. Synth bands Bézier, Max + Mara, and Redredred will play, and Cheon will spin select cuts in between sets. We asked Cheon to share a playlist of some of his favorite tracks: Martin L. Gore — “Compulsion”: “I first heard this song at The Bank, a goth club I used to go to every weekend in New York as a teenager. I love the synths that sound like brass instruments and of course Martin’s distinct vocals.When I bought the EP, I discovered it was actually a cover of a song by Joe Crow, who used to play with UK post punk group The Nightingales. The rest of the covers on this EP turned me onto so many other great bands like Tuxedomoon, Sparks, The Durutti Column and Comsat Angels.” Clan of Xymox — “Call it Weird”: “This song was also part of my teenage soundtrack after it was reissued in 1994 on CD. I never imagined I would reissue it then, but when I started my label it was one […]

    The post DJ Josh Cheon shares his favorite darkwave tracks appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times seeking stories of college sexual assault

    The Metro Times is looking to hear your experiences will sexual assault on a Michigan college campus — from anything to how many sexual assault prevention programs, rape kits or crisis centers you may have had access to, to how the administration or local law enforcement handled your experience. If you, or anyone you know might be interested in talking to a reporter at the Metro Times, please email us at

    The post Metro Times seeking stories of college sexual assault 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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