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    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Poll shows 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 shows 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.



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Politics & Prejudices

Granholm's world

Her new book, with state’s ex-first gent, is fascinating — fascinatingly bad

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"You are being called to something more right now, Jen. To somewhere you're never been. This is your crucible. So many factory workers are lost, so you are lost too ... maybe it's okay for you to be lost, Jen ... my point is, you're not God. So let it go. Let go of the ego."


— from A Governor's Story, by Jennifer Granholm


Oh, barf!

Last weekend, I took time off from the tanning studio to read the memoirs of our last governor, one Jennifer Mulhern Granholm, who claims to have written this book with her husband, one Daniel Granholm Mulhern. 

You may not remember now, but nine years ago, she was adored. Matter of fact, she was compared for a while to Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Queen Boadicea, etc., etc.

One of the sillier Free Press columnists predicted that America might be inspired to change the Constitution so Canadian-born Jenny could become president. Personally, I was holding out for pope.

But it was soon discovered that Granholm, alas, had great difficulty deciding whether to order broccoli or carrots with her lunch. Once she did, she had even more difficulty sticking to her choice. Nor was she able to exercise any clout at all if the cook didn't give her what she wanted. She was spared execution by the voters, however, since she had the good fortune to run for re-election in a terrific Democratic year, against Dick DeVos, a right-wing opponent with the charm of a piece of shirt cardboard.

So she was re-elected. Things got worse economically, and so did she. At last we were liberated from Granholm, who, after professing her undying loyalty to Michigan, quickly moved to California.

By that time, she was about as popular as foot rot. Ironically, many turned against her for the wrong reasons. The national recession and the collapse of the auto industry weren't her fault.

Nor was she to blame for Comerica and Pfizer turning tail and abandoning the state, or for Mike Bishop, the Republican majority leader in the Senate, a "rigid right-winger," unable to compromise, "perpetually tan, wore shirts with his initials monogrammed on the cuffs, who used more product in his hair than I did."

However, she did completely fail to be any kind of effective leader. Once, after her re-election, her husband asked me for my advice, saying that they knew I'd been critical, but respected that I understood the shape the state was in.

Whether that was an attempt to flatter me, I don't know. What I told him was that she needed to go on television, tell the people that nobody had leveled with them, including her, and that we were in bad shape.

And then say we needed to raise taxes on those who could afford to pay; i.e., those still working, to preserve the things that mattered in this state — education and scholarships, etc.

He muttered that they might do something like that during the State of the State address. But his wife never did. In one of the most honest and candid passages in this book she admits she didn't have the guts to level with us, at least not during the re-election campaign.

"Dick DeVos and I both chose not to tell people the things that deep down we both knew to be true: That fixing Michigan was not going to be quick and easy, that our loss of manufacturing jobs was beyond the control of any governor, that we lived in a world that would never again allow high wages for low-skilled work."

But then, with the maddening hypocrisy that is her trademark, in the very next paragraph Granholm says, "It's not that either DeVos or I wanted to hide the truth from the voters."


Which brings us to the logical question: Why in the world did she write this book, anyway? Bill Milliken wrote no book about his time as governor, though he served almost twice as long in the office and left a fine record of accomplishment. John Engler and Jim Blanchard were far more successful as governors, but wrote nothing.

What was this all about? Someone who has known a lot of governors explained it to me. "This isn't for a Michigan audience. They've got her number. Nobody wants to see her, let alone buy a book she's written. We had eight years of her blowing us away.

"This is for Washington and New York audiences, to keep herself out there, to get speaking engagements and keep her job as a commentator on MSNBC, and maybe add to that."

Aw, shucks.  I always was a naïve young boy.


Actually, the book, which is subtitled The Fight for Jobs and America's Economic Future, is so appallingly bad it is weirdly fascinating, starting with the weird, stilted dialogue it claims were real conversations, mainly between husband and wife.

What they actually sound like are Ayn Rand characters who have learned a whole lot of psychobabble.  ("His words finally pierced my hard, self-pitying armor. It was my ego that was sucking me down."  Finally, she told him "Thanks for caring so much.")   

Had the former governor and defrocked "First Gentleman" been forced to give this a title reflecting the contents, this book would have undoubtedly been called, simply, Me. Or maybe, Alone. 

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