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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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Politics & Prejudices

Farewell, Western civilization

Giving away the Great Lakes for fun and profit

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Don't it always seem to go

That you don't know what you've got till it's gone.

—Joni Mitchell


Here's something that you should find far scarier than a whole brigade of religious nuts with explosives in their underwear: The ignorant, callous right-wing nuts in the Ohio Legislature passed a bill this month that could have destroyed Lake Erie. That's not an exaggeration. Ohio House Bill 231 would have allowed businesses to withdraw up to 5 million gallons a day from the lake without even getting any kind of permit

What's more, they could have siphoned off another 2 million gallons a day from inland rivers and streams. True, Ohio, Michigan and the other six Great Lakes states, Congress and Canada signed an agreement a couple years ago called the Great Lakes Compact that was designed to protect the lakes, the largest source of fresh water in the world. But the cretins couldn't care less about such things.

This was the dead brainchild, by the way, of an Ohio state representative named Lynn Wachtmann, who lives in a hamlet called Napoleon outside Toledo. Wachtmann has the interests of the public at heart, all right. He owns a business that pumps water out of the Lake Erie watershed and wants to get even richer, faster.

Destroy the Great Lakes, and this region has no future. They are immense, but any scientist can tell you how delicate the ecology is. We've been working hard for years at damaging them.

We've pumped pollution into the lakes, introduced invasive species and seem unwilling to do what's needed to stop the Asian carp, which are likely to do their worst damage to Lake Erie.

And now this. What would pumping that water out likely do to the lake? Well, many bad things. But at the top of the list is create a perfect breeding ground for toxic, ugly, blue-green algae. 

This eyesore smells as bad as it looks, produces a toxin that is harmful to both humans and animals and is already a growing threat. That's thanks to farms, especially megafarms and factory farms, which produce large amounts of phosphorus as a byproduct, a chemical that then leaches into the lakes. Lowering the water level concentrates the phosphorus.

Phosphorus is what makes the algae grow. We literally could be facing an ecological disaster. (The moon-faced Wachtmann says these are merely "insignificant" withdrawals.)

For a while, it appeared that Gov. John Kasich, no great environmentalist himself, would sign this turkey into law. But in the end, he vetoed it, saying it didn't provide for "sufficient evaluation and monitoring" of water usage. Kasich, in fact, had come under heavy pressure not to sign it. Not just from every environmental group under the sun, but from sensible Republicans, including former Gov. Bob Taft. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo flatly threatened to sue Ohio. So Kasich backed off ... for now.

Significantly, he didn't say the bill allowed too much water to be withdrawn. He praised it, and sent it back to the drawing board. The idea is to wait till the heat's off, modify it slightly and slip it through.

That cannot be allowed to happen, if we are to have a future. Anyone who cares about the future needs to be vigilant. Frankly, the federal government should intervene, though it probably won't.

The choice is pretty stark. Future generations can have a future. Or they can have a huckster politician with a bottling plant who can be allowed to steal from them — and us — so he can get as rich as he wants to.

What a country.


Farewell to Congress: Dale Kildee, the longtime congressman from Flint, is unlikely to have any monuments in Washington. He arrived in the Capitol in the last days of the Ford administration, when an IBM Selectric typewriter was a high-tech personal communication device. He's been there ever since.

When he arrived, he was in his mid-40s. He is now in his 80s. They put him on the Education and Labor committee when he arrived; he will be on it till the day he leaves. He wasn't the driving force on any major legislation, didn't even get to chair a committee.

Instead, he stood up for workers and children (he was a high school teacher before entering politics). He did the best he could for his people during what have been the worst years in their history.

Flint was a General Motors company town. Ninety percent of the GM blue-collar jobs that were there when Kildee arrived in Washington are gone. The effect on the city was devastating. 

The congressmen did what he could, which wasn't very much. Nobody foresaw this when he got elected in the long-ago year of 1976, by going around and knocking on doors.

He won easily, and his campaign cost what he then thought was a lot of money — $48,595. You probably couldn't get elected dogcatcher for that today. Even Kildee, who has tried harder than most not to go nuts on spending, had to spend $1.2 million last year.

That was one of his closer races, though it wasn't really close. The voters have re-elected him 17 straight times, and Kildee could probably have stayed until he was senile or dropped dead.

That's what a lot of politicians do these days. Yet last week, this modest little man from Flint did the right thing. "Thirty-five years are enough," he said. He will retire at the end of next year.

My guess is that he will be succeeded by his nephew, Dan Kildee, though it's too early to say. Whoever does win will probably have to spend millions, for a two-year job that pays $174,000 a year.

There's something very wrong with that. By the way, in any other occupation, 83 would be seen as awfully old to finally retire.

But Michigan has three other congressmen in their 80s, two of whom are older than Kildee. They are mere shadows of their former selves, and show no sign of leaving. Isn't something also very wrong here? 

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