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  • 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 editor twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday evening. 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.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Stir It Up

Green underground

Second-guessing that apple orchard with Mulenga Haragua

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

I was out for a bike ride through Palmer Park on a sunny afternoon. I thought I'd take a look at the apple orchard that some folks are complaining about potentially attracting rats and causing their property values to plunge. I spotted Mulenga Harangua pedaling along on Pontchartrain Drive. He was on an old balloon-tired bike with a big basket in front carrying some plastic bags full of what looked like vegetables. I hadn't seen him in a few months, so I called out and pulled over to a picnic table to chat.

"Mulenga, how are you doing? You look like you lost some weight."

"Yeah, ever since I started this gardening thing a couple of years ago I've been evolving my diet, more of this green stuff and fewer potato chips and fast food." He pointed toward his plastic bags, which on closer inspection seemed to be mostly greens of some sort. "Plus I've been getting around on this old bike I pieced together from scrap parts. You get a lot of exercise riding one of these things."

"So what are you doing over this way?"

"I'm making my deliveries."


"Yeah, deliveries. I've got a few people I sell produce to. Right now I've got spinach and spring greens ready. I've bagged them up and I'm making the rounds of my customers. Once I finish selling these I'll have about $25 in my pocket. Despite the man trying to keep a brother down, I'm figuring out ways to make it."

"How'd you start with the produce delivery?"

"You remember that pregnant girl I was helping last year? She moved in with a family over this way and got them to start getting a few things from me. Well, they had a few friends who were interested too, so now I come through when I have something. "

"That sounds pretty good. Maybe you can get yourself a stall at one of these markets that are popping up around town."

Mulenga gave a practiced look over his shoulder as though he were checking for someone creeping up on him before he spoke. "No thanks. I don't want to get into all that overhead and paying taxes and whatnot. I like to keep things close to the vest."

"So you want to keep your business on System D."

Mulenga grinned at the suggestion. "What's that, some kind of special Detroit thing? It sounds cool — System D." He started to do a little dance, "I'm rolling in the D."

"System D isn't something specific to Detroit. It's a term that the writer Robert Neuwirth uses to refer to the shadow economy, or informal economy. He published a book last year called Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy. System D refers to a sort of black market economy where people do business off the books. No reporting, no taxes. It's like when you do some work for someone, say paint the garage, and they pay you cash."

"I do that all the time. I didn't know they had a name for it. ... System D." He said the last two words slowly, like he was savoring the way they felt as they rolled off his tongue. 

"Neuwirth took it from the French term débrouillard. It means someone who is self-reliant or ingenious. In former French colonies in Africa it came to refer to the street corner type business, l'économie de la débrouillardise."

Mulenga gave me a big, wide smile. "So it's an African thing. I can get next to that."

"It's also an illegal thing. This is business off the books. It can be anything from drug dealing and prostitution to paying illegal immigrants under the table. It can also be as simple as babysitting, lawn mowing, or ladies who do their friends' hair on the back porch."

"So I'm part of a pretty big thing?"

"Neuwirth claims it's a $10 trillion per year economy — $1.2 trillion in the United States alone. I couldn't find out anything about Detroit. Nobody answered the telephone at the city Finance Department when I made a couple of calls there, and someone I got hold of at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation said she didn't even know how you'd track that. But I did find an estimate that 10 to 20 percent of Michigan's economy is in the shadows."

"Well, I'll tell you that System D is big in the D. I pick up scrap metal sometimes and that is all off the books with those guys. Whenever I do odd jobs they're cash only. I certainly don't report when I sell a few bags of greens. If it wasn't for System D I would be out in the cold."

"I don't doubt that System D was made for you."

Mulenga surveyed the area near where we sat. "What's with all those little trees that look like they were just planted?"

"That's the apple orchard that People for Palmer Park planted a couple of months ago."

"I heard about that. Isn't that the one that some folks around here are all upset about? They went to the City Council saying that it's going to draw rats and stuff."


"But there are rats all over the city. It seems like they could be attracted to an orchard."

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