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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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Grand Old Panderers

Why Republican rhetoric is like a racist dog whistle

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The first time Republicans really, really scared me was in 1964. I can't remember where I got the idea, but in my then-11-year-old mind I believed that if Barry Goldwater won the election against Lyndon Johnson he was going to send all the black people back to Africa. Back then, I thought of Africa as a scary place where nearly naked people ran through the jungle chased by lions. Now I wouldn't mind getting a trip to the "dark" continent at government expense.

The second time was in 1992, when Pat Buchanan gave his famous "culture war" speech at the Republican convention in Houston. I was sitting in a motor home parked in the woods of northern Minnesota, swatting ineffectually at giant black flies as I stared at the grainy black-and-white image of Buchanan delivering the speech in which he likened taking "back our culture" to the troops taking back Los Angeles from rioting blacks in the wake of the Rodney King decision. I was flabbergasted that such openly racist rhetoric could be expressed during a political convention.

I guess I was naïve because it's happening again — the racial pandering, not my fear. Once again Republican candidates and their surrogates are playing the race card in a bid to solidify support in the conservative base. And as the primaries move into South Carolina and Florida, part of the Southern bloc of states that turned their backs on the Democrats after President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, I don't expect them to let up. 

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have been the most overt offenders. Last month, Gingrich stirred the pot with comments about poor ("black") children having no work habits. He recently asserted that President Obama was the "best food stamp president in American history." Just in case people didn't know whom he was referring to, he went on to say that he was willing to go to the NAACP national convention to tell them "why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps." Then he went to a black church Sunday to say his comments had been misconstrued. I don't think so.

Santorum referenced food stamps in saying that he didn't want to make "black people's lives better by giving them someone else's money." Santorum has denied use of the word "black" in the statement, saying he was tongue-tied or stuttered or something — I don't know, maybe he burped — and that he actually said "blah people." So now we have the "blahs," that's a new one.

Amazingly enough, Santorum made his comments in Sioux City, Iowa, heart of Woodbury County where 2.4 percent of the population is black, and where 13 percent of the people are on food stamps. It's hard to say why that was even relevant there.

Gingrich and Santorum pulled the food stamp argument right out of the Ronald Reagan playbook. In 1976 Reagan created the fictitious Cadillac-driving Chicago "welfare queen" who had 80 names, 30 addresses and 12 Social Security numbers in order to collect numerous welfare checks. Reagan never identified the welfare queen's race, but he spoke in a code that everybody understands.

"The way that I see it is that whenever Republicans start using rhetoric about welfare, about poor — this crop is more overt about naming the target of that rhetoric — what these things constitute is symbolic racism. Symbolic racism tries to mask the reality of structural racism," says Austin Jackson, assistant professor of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. Jackson's work focuses on writing and rhetoric in African-American culture. "It's a racist dog whistle to appeal to a large portion of their white constituencies.

"What we see, from Republican candidates in particular, is used strategically to hide systems of racial exploitation and justice. The white constituency responds very well to this sort of coded racialized rhetoric."

The message in the rhetoric is that black people are a bunch of lazy freeloaders. But the food stamp association is not only racist, it is flat-out wrong. According to a 2010 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 35 percent of food stamp recipients are white, 22 percent are black, 10 percent are Hispanic, 4 percent are Native American, 2 percent are Asian and 19 percent are of unknown race or ethnicity. Many of them are the working poor. If you exclude children (47 percent) and retirees (8 percent), the majority of food stamp recipients have jobs. They just don't make enough to get by on. That's not to deny that African-Americans make up a larger proportion of food stamp recipients than in the general population; a legacy of hiring and wage discrepancies, and discrimination are at the root of that.

Republican presidential hopefuls Ron Paul and Rick Perry also have their own racial albatrosses around their necks. Paul has had to defend himself for racist statements in newsletters that went out under his name in the 1980s and 1990s; he didn't write or read them, he now claims, although he made no such claims when challenged on the newsletters in the '90s. A 1992 newsletter claimed that year's L.A. riots ended "when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks." Perry recently named Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to head up his Arizona campaign. The U.S. Justice Department recently concluded that Arpaio's office was guilty of "massive civil rights violations against Latinos," not to mention failure to investigate more than 400 sex crimes. Perry also came under fire last year when it was revealed that the family hunting lodge was once named "Niggerhead," and the epithet was painted on a big rock on the property.

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