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  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race

    If a poll released this week is any indication of how the August 5 primary election will turn out, current Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano has reason to worry, Fox 2 reports. Ficano, who’s seeking a third term, polled in fourth place — behind former Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans, Westland Mayor Bill Wild and Wayne County Commissioner Phil Cavanaugh, according to Fox 2. The poll by Strategic Solutions LLC, showed 6.7 percent of respondents said they’d vote for Ficano, which isn’t so bad: He finished ahead of County Commissioner Kevin McNamara (who came in at No. 6) and someone literally described as “a candidate not named here” (who polled at No. 5.) If you’re planning to head to the polls — which you should! — and need some input on the candidates and ballot proposals, you can read for our election coverage in this week’s Metro Times.

    The post Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • A Mad Decent Mixtape

    Mad Decent Block Party will roll through town on Saturday, August 16, bringing to town artists like Dillon Francis, Diplo, Flosstradamus, RiFF RAFF, Keys N Krates, and Zeds Dead. Thugli, a Canadian duo, will perform on the Toronto leg of the tour and they put together a 45 minute mix that features songs by some of the tour’s featured artists as well as a host of others.  Listen to it here. 

    The post A Mad Decent Mixtape appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders

    Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host a special event this Saturday, July 26 in hopes of raising money for the local faction of an international nonprofit, Burners without Borders Detroit. Breaking Borders is a one-evening-only event that will feature live music, performance, and art. Satori Circus will perform along with spoken word artist ZakAndWhatArmy. Music by Tartanic, Dixon’s Violin, and Servitor. Fire dancers, hoop performers, and acrobats will provide a certain mysticism to the ambiance as old Victorian steampunk and tribal art is shown in the main gallery. There will also be a runway fashion show and the evening will end with a dubstep rave featuring DJ Forcefeed and Dotty. Truly, there’s something for everyone. Perhaps more importantly, there will be a full service bar. The event is open to those 18 and older and IDs will be checked at the door. Admission is $25 at the door, or $20 with the donation of a canned good. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the party goes until 2 a.m. A 20 percent commission will be taken from all art sold at this event and donated to Burners without Borders. The Tangent Gallery is located at 715 Milwaukee Ave., Detroit; 313-873-2955;

    The post Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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 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.



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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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