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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 new 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 new 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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Politics & Prejudices

Dems: Gutless cowards

Instead of putting forth a plan, Dems sit on their hands

Throughout the state, horrified citizens are beginning to grasp what Gov. Rick Snyder's budget cuts will really mean to them.

They are going to get screwed. The poor and young and most vulnerable will be royally screwed. The rich, naturally, will be just fine. You might expect the Democrats, the party of the people, the party of Andrew Jackson and Bobby Kennedy and Soapy Williams, to rise to their defense. Offer an alternative program.

Suggesting raising — gasp — taxes on those more than able to pay! Fighting for the poor and downtrodden, that sort of thing.

Yes, the Democrats by themselves are politically powerless now. They are heavily outnumbered in the Legislature. They can pass nothing. But they could stand for something. They could say, "We'd do this instead. We would balance the budget this way. We would make the sacrifice truly fair, and preserve our children's futures."

They aren't doing that, however. They are mostly gutless cowards. They are afraid to stand for anything. They lack the guts to call for the necessary tax increases they should stand for.

Charles Ballard, a Michigan State University economist, tells me, "If we were to raise the income tax rate by a modest amount, I believe that the negative effects would be very small. In fact, if we use the money to repair some of our crumbling infrastructure, and to invest in early childhood education, I believe a modest increase in the income tax rate would have a positive effect on attracting businesses."

Ballard, who understands our economy better than anyone, said that boosting the income tax rate from the present 4.35 percent to 5.5 percent, would eliminate the entire deficit.

That's what the Dems' program should be. Here's what it is: "Waaaaah! Don't cut no benefits."

Well, fine. But then how should the state close the $1 billion-plus deficit gap we have this and every year — even if we don't enact Gov. Rick Snyder's enormous tax breaks for business?

Democrats: "Waaaah! Don't cut no benefits."

What they are hoping, of course, is that they don't have to put forward an alternative program, that they'll get power back just because people are disgusted with the Republicans.

Even if it works, it is a contemptible excuse for political philosophy. Give the GOP this: They stand for something, are filled with passionate intensity, and aren't afraid to say so. Those who should be opposing them are invertebrates.

Away from Lansing, people are starting to get it. Parents are starting to understand what the sharp per-pupil spending cuts will mean to their kids' ability to get an education that already often wasn't good enough.

College students will see a steep tuition hike, and will come back to campus in the fall to find they are paying more for less.

The impact is likely to fall heaviest on poor families. Imagine a single mother — or father — with two kids, working a couple dreary jobs, struggling to make it on $15,000 a year. There are many, many people like that in today's Michigan. They had one thing going for them till now: They'd get a state tax refund of $533, thanks to the EITC, or Earned Income Tax Credit. Yet the governor and the Legislature are hell-bent on taking that away. Know what they'll give that family instead? Fifty bucks.

This means people will lose their homes; that, according to the nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan League for Human Services (MLHS), something like 11,000 children will be toppled over the line into poverty. This is all being done so that business can get a huge tax break.

Gilda Jacobs, who runs the league, is no bomb-thrower. She's a mild-mannered suburban woman in her early 60s, a former Oakland County commissioner and state senator. Yet the impact of what's coming caused her to virtually scream: "The cuts lawmakers are making are so mean-spirited that you almost have to ask: Are the cuts deliberately crafted by bullies who are deliberately targeting kids and others who can't fight back?"

That's almost right, Gilda: They are, in fact, targeting those who can't vote. Originally, the governor proposed to tax the pensions of those now receiving them. When the geezers went ballistic, his buddies in the Legislature feared revenge at the polls. They ran from their governor like Larry, Moe and Curly being chased by a striped-ass ape. Snyder heard them, backed off. Together they came up with this compromise:

They will just tax the pensions of those not receiving them yet! By the time the people get to vote for the Legislature again, the tax will be a done deal. In the meantime, they'll make up some of the difference by screwing people on the Homestead Tax Credit, which is less well understood.

Last week, a ragged band of citizens tried to take matters into their own hands. Michigan Citizens United is going to try to recall the governor in a special election. They will find out Friday if their petition language is approved. You have to admire their passion, their drive to do something. Yet their efforts are likely to be a waste. They need 1 million signatures in three months, when you take into account that some signatures will always be disqualified.

That means collecting more than 10,000 every day for that time. That is simply not possible. Getting a constitutional amendment on the ballot only takes a third as many, and generally only succeeds if someone has money to pay handsomely to collect them.

Citizens United's spokesman says they've raised maybe a thousand bucks. What if they succeed?

There'd be another election, and if Snyder were removed, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who is even more conservative, would succeed him.

What we need right now is leadership; someone — Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, perhaps — to offer a program, that even if it fails now, is something to rally around. Yet up to now, they offer only the sounds of silence.

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