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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 / gettyimages.com 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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Stir It Up

Game-changers ahead

With labor challenged, where will tomorrow's radical awakening come from?

As I wandered around the house setting my clocks forward this past weekend, I contemplated Republican-led efforts to turn the clock back on collective bargaining rights across the nation.

The big deal that most folks have been focused on is the protest in Madison, Wis., where as many as 100,000 union supporters reacted to Gov. Scott Walker's signing of a bill that stripped almost all collective bargaining rights from state workers. Walker claims that it's necessary to balance the state budget, although the budget seemed to be balanced before Walker cut corporate taxes. State worker unions agreed to all the economic rollbacks Walker sought, but the governor insisted that removing collective bargaining rights was key to his budget needs. In the final maneuver, after Democratic legislators fled the state to keep the fiscal bill from coming to a vote, Republicans removed the fiscal provisions of the bill in order to be able to vote on the law without needing the Democrats to be present.

In other words, Walker and his right wing co-conspirators removed the legislative fig leaf to get what they really wanted: union-busting legislation.

It seems that a conservative Republican cabal, with ideological and financial leadership from the billionaire Koch brothers and others, is making an effort to stamp out union power. Public sector workers have the highest concentration of union representation today; so if you can crush public unions, you deal a crippling blow to the union movement and its ability to support the political opposition. The Midwest, traditionally an area of union strength, is the focus of that offensive. In Ohio, the SB 5 law that strips most collective bargaining rights from public workers recently passed the Senate by a one-vote margin, though it has yet to be passed by the state House. In Indiana, where Gov. Mitch Daniels stripped collective bargaining rights from state workers by executive order in 2005, some 20,000 pro-union activists rallied last week in opposition to HB 1216, which would exempt most public building projects from being subject to construction wage rules requiring that all workers on site be paid the locally prevailing wage and benefits, and prevent companies from having to sign project labor agreements that guarantee a certain percentage of union jobs.

In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder hasn't taken on unions head-on, but many are wary of his Emergency Financial Managers legislation, which would grant new wide-ranging powers to EFMs, including the ability to dissolve local governments and school districts, and to void contracts. The law has been passed and awaits the nerd governor's signature. The state has begun training 175 EFMs in anticipation of Snyder's draconian budget measures taking effect. As municipalities and school systems buckle under the state cutbacks, he'll be able to deploy EFMs across the state. Anti-EFM activists held protests in several Michigan cities on Tuesday.

"I assume Rick Snyder is Scott Walker with a worse haircut. There isn't any significant difference between Walker and Snyder policies. It all comes from the Koch brothers," says Frank Joyce, a political activist and writer who formerly headed UAW public relations. "Snyder wants to distinguish himself with some of his taxes, shifting the tax burden from business to retirees. And the EFM is a thinly disguised union-busting scheme; anybody pretending to be a neutral observer looking at the Detroit Public Schools as an example of how the EFM works would not be expanding the program. None of this is about fixing any real problems, this is about consolidating power.

"This war on unions and war on working people has been quite explicitly waged for 30 years. The working people of the United States have not had a raise in 30 years. Incomes are stagnant or in decline despite the fact that productivity has increased dramatically. A single breadwinner in most houses then was bringing in more real money than multiple breadwinners do now. Every household is up to their eyeballs in personal debt. The significant thing about Madison, Lansing and some other places is that now there is some pushback, resistance. People are saying enough is enough, and that's pretty significant. This is way bigger than Scott Walker."

But given the steady erosion of union memberships over the decades and the current economic atmosphere, is it too little too late? Or is that even the right question? Joyce and others, including political philosopher and activist Grace Boggs, who I'll be talking to for my next column, would agree that we are entering a new economic age where the questions and answers on the right and left are changing, and the struggles we see today are more about what the next economic order will be. Boggs' new book, The Next American Revolution, establishes that point, and moves forward from there to ask how progressive forces are organizing themselves in this new, technologically shrunken world.

One possible outcome is that "This is the beginning of a much more radical awakening of consciousness about the building of power," says Joyce, who hosts an hour-long Sunday afternoon segment as part of Sirius radio's weekly Land of Hopes and Dreams program. "Things are much different, and the issues we're facing call for a radical re-examination of problems and what the solutions are. It's not all that clear what direction we'll go.

"We're in a systemic breakdown now; capitalism as we know it is coming to the end of the arc of its growth development and legitimacy. ... There are shifting demographics and attitudes about marriage and family, even mental health. These are game-changing evolutions that we have seen before in human history; get used to the simultaneous crises. Libya, Japan, Madison — these are big, unwieldy events. It's going be like this for a while. There are going to be lots of surprises and manifestations.

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