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    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Stir It Up

Cue Mulenga

Harangua helps with a recap of a city year

Photo: , License: N/A

I was walking down Woodward Avenue near Grand Circus Park; the wind was cutting through my pants as winter finally started to show some teeth. I saw Mulenga Harangua walking along with what looked like an old, bent pool cue in his hand, peeping in the windows of storefronts. The cue stick looked more like something you'd use to shoot arrows than eight balls.

"Hey, Mulenga, what's up with the stick?”

He turned around looking a little wide-eyed until he focused on me. "Oh, I'm looking for a pool hall.” He waved his curvy cue stick in my general direction. 

"What's with this sudden interest in shooting pool?”

"I'm trying to get politically connected,” he said. "Apparently that's where all the political action is. Didn't you see that story about Ron Weiser, the Republican National Committee finance chair? He said that voters in Detroit get picked up at pool halls and barbershops and bused from 'precinct to precinct' to vote several times. I've been in lots of barbershops and never seen this happen, so I figure the real action must be at the pool halls. Plus, I figure if they have buses going from precinct to precinct then I can get a ride across town. They might be more dependable than the city buses.”

"Well, even though that doesn't really happen, it would just be on Election Day.”

"But you don't just show up on Election Day and expect to be successful.”

"You got that right.”

"So I went to the Magic Stick, Bill's Recreation, Paul's Recreation, El Bosque and Long Green Billiards. Nothing was going on at any of them. I can't seem to find a political connection. I'm over here because I heard there is a new billiards parlor on Woodward called Drive.”

"I heard about that place. But it's not a pool hall; it's a ping-pong parlor.”

"What? I never heard of something like that.” Mulenga tapped his stick on the ground a couple of times.

"Apparently they're hot in New York and other trendy places. Susan Sarandon is involved in a company that runs them. Drive is run by a minister, Diallo Smith, of the Awakening Movement church. They hold services there too.”

"Well, I guess my search is over. I should have figured it wasn't true about pool halls when I knew it wasn't true about barbershops.”

"You were looking for politics in all the wrong places. That Weiser guy is full of crap. It's just more of this Republican smoke and mirrors as they try to push voter suppression. Voter fraud at the polls is practically nonexistent. This summer News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found just 10 cases of in-person voter fraud out of an alleged 2,068 cases reported nationally. Plus, those kinds of stories sound good when they're preaching to the Republican choir. I guess they actually believe that stuff. That's probably why Romney was so surprised that he lost the election. They actually believe their own bullshit. So what's with this sudden interest in politics? The election is over.”

"There's always another election over the horizon,” Mulenga replied. "Regardless of that, I feel like I've got to do something about Gov. Snyder and all this crap the state Legislature has shoved down our throats in the past few weeks. This right-to-work law does nothing but let workers enjoy the benefits of union-negotiated contracts without having to support the union. They passed almost 300 laws and Snyder signed most of them. It's like the revenge of the nerd governor after President Obama won the election.”

"Yep, I feel like I'm living in some backward hinterland. If it hadn't been for the Sandy Hook school massacre, Snyder would have signed the law allowing people to carry handguns into schools and churches. They were putting new amendments into laws and substituting legislation with no debate or public input. They passed a new emergency manager law and business-friendly tax breaks for their corporate pals. They passed a law aimed at putting medical facilities that provide abortions out of business. They also privatized a state prison, and made it harder to recall state legislators — I guess just in case people got ticked off at them for bulldozing those laws through.”

"You ought to mention that when you do your year in review column for 2012,” Mulenga urged.

"I don't know if I'm going to write one this year. It's been tough.”

"What? Obama won re-election, and folks voted to legalize marijuana in Colorado, Washington state, and even right here in Detroit.” Mulenga put a couple of fingers to his lips and sucked in like he was smoking. "It's legal now.”

"I'm glad that Obama won. Romney would have been a nightmare. But at the state level it's like conservative Republican land in more places than not. And as far as marijuana is concerned, it's a wait-and-see proposition. There was a news report the other day that the state police have no intention of honoring that law, and the county and city cops have their lawyers reviewing it. They're probably looking for a way to get around it. City Council President Charles Pugh said it was a waste of time.”

Somebody blew a car horn and waved out the window as it went by. Mulenga waved his cue stick in the general direction. Neither of us knew who it was.

"So what was so bad this year?” Mulenga said as he tapped his pool cue against a parking meter as we walked along.

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