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  • Poll show 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 show 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.

  • 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.



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Higher Ground

Getting organized

Compassion clubs embrace new statewide group

It was a display of the worst behavior — publicly taunting a 7-year-old girl in the late stages of Huntington's disease on a Facebook page. However, in the wake of that atrocious act by a neighbor, the outpouring of support for Kathleen Edwards, the young Downriver girl, was an equally heartening outpouring of the best of human kindness.

Kathleen was showered with donations from around the world, a trip to an Ann Arbor toy store, and a couple of thousand people attended an Oct. 23 rally in her support at Trenton's Elizabeth Park. Among Kathleen's gifts there was a $350 gift card and a five-day trip to Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky, Ohio, donated by the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers.

"The public needs to know who we are," says Ryan Baser of the Capital City Caregivers, a medical marijuana compassion club in Lansing. "We want to show everyone that we're here to support the patients and the community. We're doing food drives in Lansing, Ypsilanti, Port Huron and Detroit. We're starting a coat drive for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In Lansing, there's a local toys program where a police officer takes kids shopping that we're participating in."

It's the kind of civic involvement you hear about from local business associations around this time of year. Except the MACC is an unknown entity, and their business is, shall we say, controversial. Some observers might look at their charitable activities with a jaundiced eye. They might say that it's a public show that covers up their shady activities. It takes some getting used to. But MACC members seem to be trying to maintain their business openly and legally under intense scrutiny from local governments and law enforcement.

The MACC was organized in the wake of the August busts of two Oakland County "compassion clubs" that authorities alleged were illegal marijuana dispensaries. There was obvious concern at other places that were involved in marijuana exchanges that they might be next.

"We saw the horrible way some people are being treated, how patients and caregivers were violated," says Jamie Lowell of the Third Coast Caregivers in Ypsilanti. "We need to protect our collective membership. There was a void in community where someone needed to step up and get rallies organized, find legal help for those who need it, help out on political campaigns, and promote good neighbor policies and attitudes."

There are 10 compassion clubs in the MACC, and they're said to represent a combined 6,000 patients mostly in southeast Michigan. The member organizations pay a $1,000 initiation fee plus $300 a month. They meet every two weeks and are in daily contact through e-mail. Like other business associations, they set standards among their membership. When a compassion club wants to join, they talk to them about staying within the law.

"We've started working to set a standard for the rest of the state in how to operate the correct legal way — how to do business, how to treat patients right, how to do security, how to work with local municipalities instead of against them," says Baser. "Our main focus is protecting our patients. Anytime there's a case and something going on that's not fair, we'd like to send a lawyer, legal representation, so they are not railroaded. Most of these people didn't do anything wrong in the first place."

Of course, there are areas of the law that are still being sorted out by the courts, and one of those gray areas is whether and how marijuana can change hands in compassion clubs.

MACC members expect to have their nonprofit status verified this week and start admitting new members next week. Several additional memberships have been unofficially approved. When a compassion club asks to join, the MACC does things you might expect of more conventional business associations. They send members to the clubs unannounced to check out the security and see if they are properly checking state cards.

"It will help a club to achieve these standards," Lowell says. "If they are good people, we try to help bring them up to snuff in our opinion. Most places that are in operation came through our place, Third Coast, because we were the first one up and running. We've taken that seriously to be a model, although we have room to grow and room for improvement. But we have to get on the same page with a lot of people. I mean law enforcement, municipal officials, patients, caregivers and doctors, we all should have the same understanding of this law so you don't have to go through criminal proceedings or lawsuits."

As the fronts on the drug war evolve, it's going to take time, education and communication to get past former attitudes and entrenched positions. Some areas are going to change faster than others. Bayer says that things are working well in the Lansing area, where Ingham County officials have been "incredibly supportive." Bayer gets a bit giddy in touting some 25 medical marijuana-related businesses in Lansing that are positively impacting the local economy. But then you can't blame him for being a little giddy.

"I actually got pulled over by the Michigan State University police with four big marijuana plants in my car," he says. "They ended up letting me go. I talked to them for about 30 minutes; they were pretty interested. At MSU, if you have your card and less than 2 ounces of marijuana and aren't staying in any federally funded housing, it's not a problem. The head detective told me that's how they are handling things. It was a positive police experience."

Maybe we can all be on our best behavior as we work our way through this medical marijuana moment in Michigan.

Medicated feds:
While the federal government has officially denied that marijuana has any medical benefits, it's a different story behind the scenes. The U.S. government actually holds a patent for the medical use of marijuana. U.S. Patent 6630507, granted in 2003, and titled "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants," is held by the United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services. The abstract to the patent reads: "Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This newfound property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation-associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example, in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia." One of those cannabinoids is commonly known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the component of marijuana that gets you high. Does this mean that, when the ground-level compassion clubs build up the market, the government will swoop in for a piece of the action? At the very least, the government's hypocrisy about medical marijuana is evident when they deny that marijuana has medical value while it holds the patent for the medical use of the substance.

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