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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 […]

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  • 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.

  • 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.

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Higher Ground

Conspiracy theories

Reader reactions to drug policy enlighten

It's going to be hard to follow the brilliant and incisive work of Larry Gabriel ("When science goes to pot") in last week's Higher Ground, but one thing I've noticed over the years is that when the government commissions a study into the adverse effects of marijuana and the answer comes back "none," the report is simply ignored and the government goes right on with its program for the harassment and eradication of recreational drug users.

My memory isn't that great anymore, but I can't remember a single study that concluded marijuana is bad for human beings or has any negative effect on the workings of our society. As far as I've read, no deaths have resulted from marijuana use. It's not toxic, it's not addictive, it doesn't lead to violent or abusive behavior, and, in fact, marijuana offers great medicinal and healing benefits not found elsewhere — with the added attraction of blessed mental relief from the incessant poundings of daily life.

None of this fits with the orthodox mythology, however, so findings are routinely ignored, alcohol continues as the authorized social drug of choice, the pharmaceutical industry continues to boom as the nation's official drug supply, and the political underwriters of the established policy keep up their barrage of gibberish while voting billions for the relentless enforcement of their endless laws against recreational drug use.

Nixon got one of these reports just before firing the opening salvos of the War on Drugs that's raged almost 40 years and torn apart the lives of millions of American citizens who chose to reject the government's phony science and to smoke marijuana or get high in other prohibited ways in informed defiance of the law.

We've paid dearly for these choices; some think that's the point. Robert Carpenter writes, "It is, of course, true that the drug war has failed, insofar as its stated goals are concerned. The question, however, is whether the stated goals made in support of policy by the political class are necessarily the actual goals. ...

"On the Watergate tape recordings, President Nixon left no doubt as to his deep hatred of hippies, the counterculture, every minority group one can name, gays, and of course blacks. On the tapes Nixon demonstrates an encyclopedic knowledge of racial slurs and says words to the effect that the problem with the country now is the blacks. And H.R. Haldeman famously remarks that what's needed is a program which can deal with the blacks while not appearing to do so.

"What he means of course is that, in the wake of the civil rights legislation, a new means of containing blacks must be devised, now that the Jim Crow laws have been dismantled. That new means was the War on Drugs in which Nixon deployed his DEA and militarized civilian police forces with his SWAT programs, tanks, armored carriers and the like.

"With the War on Drugs, I believe Nixon — perhaps the most cynical and diabolically ingenious president of all time — understood that with the DEA interdictions he could drive up the street price of drugs, entice the poor, black urban underclass into dealing in them, and use the newly militarized civilian police forces as the front lines of a massive plan to begin turning blacks into felons and creating a ruling class in poor black ghettos where, as W.F. Buckley put it, the drug dealers would become the overlords.

"In brief, I think Nixon's War on Drugs can best be described as a strategy for producing delinquents. ... His problem was how to reverse the integrative processes under way, to delinquintize black populations so as to quell integration and instill in whites a great fear of a dangerous, delinquent black class.

"On that score," citizen Carpenter concludes, "the War on Drugs has been a resounding success, and, as many point out, nearly one out of three young black males in urban areas are under the administration of the Justice Department — in jail awaiting trial, as convicted felons, incarcerated or as parolees.

"There are, of course, many other goals and interests one could name in the War on Drugs — from asset forfeiture, which turns law enforcement into third-party beneficiaries, to the prison guard unions, the treatment centers and so on. But I believe Nixon, the president who federalized on a massive scale the War on Drugs, had in mind the delinquintization of newly emancipated blacks as his primary goal for the program."

Here's another reader, Justin Kline: "I recently had a friend serve up the idea that 'prohibition' was due to Henry Ford manufacturing cars with newer engines that ran on corn liquor (ethanol). Prohibition was contrived to force the farmers to keep using the output of the fledgling oil industry. i.e., protecting a special-interest group [that] was an entire industry.

"Next, my friend claimed that marijuana was declared illegal nearly to the day that nylon was invented. The grand obfuscation was to word the law with the name 'hemp' as the general scheme of the scam, which is a general category that merely includes marijuana. Almost nobody knows, even now, that the law reads 'hemp.'

"Thus, the true mission was cloaked right from the beginning, i.e., protecting a special-interest group — nowhere close to the claims of health or morals. ... Let me know if this starts to look like something worthy of your time and not just another rant from the 'conspiracy theory squad.'"

It's good to think of all these potential causes in our search for truth, because we know the official anti-drug gobbledygook is false. It's sad to keep beating this same dead horse, but they've got to drag it off the track and let real life return for our nation's recreational users.

Asset forfeiture:
I was tipped off by Eapen Thampy of Americans for Forfeiture Reform, a nonprofit group based in Kansas City, to the chilling article "Stealing Camp Zoe: The Forfeiture Gang Strikes," where William Norman Grigg of the Pro Libertate blog and radio program details the massive raid on a rural Arkansas music venue by federal, state and local law enforcement authorities "dispatched to clean out the personal and business accounts of Jimmy Tebeau, the musician and entrepreneur who owns and operates the campground."

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