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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Stir It Up

Full plate of Detroit

Finding the spirit of the city — in vanity tags

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A

Mulenga Harangua was so excited, he was practically dancing in his seat as we drove across town. I was helping him move some furniture that one of his relatives gave him. We were eastbound on West Grand Boulevard with a couch, a table and a couple of chairs in the back of a borrowed pickup truck. I had a cold ice tea perched between my thighs as I maneuvered through rush hour traffic. I felt the condensation moistening my pants and thought about years back when my dad would have had a beer warming between his thighs as we cruised around the neighborhood. 

"I got some good furniture now," Mulenga said as he gazed smiling at some of the gigantic houses that line the boulevard. "That sofa folds out into a bed. It's probably better than that piece of foam rubber I've been sleeping on. No sense pretending I need living room furniture for the guests. We can just take that straight into the bedroom."

"That's simple enough," I said as I eased onto the brake at a red light. 

"Hey look at that license plate," Mulenga pointed at a SUV turning the corner. Its license plate read BLAKISBU.

"Hey, that's slick," I said. "Black is beautiful. They get the message out in just eight letters. It's more economical than Twitter or even a haiku."

"That's what I like about you," Mulenga said. "One minute we're sweating getting furniture onto a truck, the next minute you're talking about Japanese poetry. Hmmm ... what could I say on a license plate? How about BAD MF?"

"So you think you're Shaft? They wouldn't let you do that. I checked it out one time when I was thinking about putting my name on a plate. One of the rules is that selections 'cannot be offensive to good taste or decency' as judged by the state. I don't think the folks in Lansing will go for the MF."

"I don't think BAD MF is offensive."

"What you think isn't even close to the way most people see things," I said as I maneuvered one of the boulevard's big, sweeping curves.

"Hey, sometimes I agree with others," Mulenga demurred. "Like with Krystal Crittendon — I agreed with her suit against the state about the consent agreement. She ain't taking that laying down, not like some folks around here."

"Well, I knew that wasn't going anywhere, especially when we didn't even have a united front right here with our city government. A divided city has little hope in this atmosphere."

"Hey, look at that license plate," Mulenga said, pointing at one that read 4EVR313. "Forever 313. See, Crittendon has the 313 in her heart. Mayor Bing doesn't. He was living in Franklin before he moved downtown because the business guys around here wanted him to be mayor."

"Business people got behind Kwame Kilpatrick. They got behind Dennis Archer too. Looks like they might be getting behind Mike Duggan now."

"He's another carpetbagger, moving into Palmer Woods from Livonia so he can run for mayor."

Another car passed us as we trundled slowly along. The license plate ALLBLAK seemed to wave at us as the car sped away.

"That's what I mean," Mulenga said. "We need an all-black government here. Duggan is white, there's no way Detroit is going to elect him mayor."

"I don't know. I used to think Maryann Mahaffey could have run for mayor and won. She used to get more votes than anyone on city council."

"Well, she was all right. I think that, deep inside, Mahaffey was a soul sister."

"Oh, now you gonna decide who is black and who is not based on whether you like them or not?"

"I like that," Mulenga said, pointing to a license plate that read BLUENILE. "We ought to follow that and get some of that Ethiopian food. I love that stuff."

"Maybe we should follow that one if you're hungry." I pointed to a little coupe with 1HOTDOG on its plate. Advertising on the side of the vehicle showed it to be from some kind of hot dog shop. Then I spotted another plate that read MHTYGOD. "That's the one you need Mulenga. You need the power of the man upstairs."

"The whole city could use that. But I don't think God is taking sides here. We got free will and we've got to use it."

"Speaking of your free will, who do you like for mayor next year? We got Duggan out there making inquiries. Charles Pugh and Gary Brown have been mentioned as possible candidates. Benny Napoleon wants the hot seat too. And Bing is talking about making another run."

"I think I'm gonna support Tom Barrow," Mulenga said with a grin.

"You're just trying to start something. Barrow isn't even on the list."

"Barrow has run so many times he doesn't even have to plan ahead. He can just push a button and the whole thing goes on automatic." We were almost cut off by a car with the GO GET license plate. Mulenga pointed it out. "See that should be Barrow's slogan. He's gonna go get something for Detroit."

"Maybe he should use that one," I pointed to a plate that read GOOD2ME. "He wants Detroiters to be good to him. Maybe that should have been Crittendon's plea to the court. It may yet be her plea to Bing in order to keep her job."

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