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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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Politics & Prejudices

How this came to pass

Mikhail Gorbachev and Christmas 1991 set the stage (no kidding)

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Ever wonder how our country ended up like this? As this year sputters to its end, that is, and children are being thrown off cash assistance forever in the dead of winter, and we are letting our roads fall apart, and few seem to give a damn about the next generation.

How did it come to this? It wasn't always this way. Fifty years ago, we were a strong and confident country, committed to making this a better world, thinking we could educate more kids.

Thinking we could help the rest of the world too. Presidents could propose programs like the Alliance for Progress to help lift up Latin America. The statesman Sargent Shriver led a major effort to conquer poverty in this country, and continued to believe, until the day he died earlier this year, that's something we could have done.

Today, any politician who even suggested that we do something to help the nation's poor would be sneered at as a socialist. For the last 30 years, there has been a massive transfer of wealth from the poor and the fast-disappearing middle class to the super-rich. Do you see any major effort to suggest moving toward even a slightly more level playing field?

Does any major Democratic politician, in Lansing or Washington, dare to stand up and say, "It's time to increase taxes on the super-rich so students can get scholarships and poor children can get milk?" Don't be silly. They'd be afraid of losing votes because bloated radio fools like Rush Limbaugh would call them names.

How did we get to this place from the idealistic nation we were? For a large part of the answer, look back to a Christmas exactly 20 years ago, to an event that set the stage for everything that has followed. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last head of the USSR, appeared on television screens across the globe that Christmas morning.

Everything was truly over. He announced he was resigning, and that the nation that had been our mortal enemy had ceased to exist.

Nobody paid a whole lot of attention at the time. The Soviet Union had been dying since a failed coup that summer. The Cold War, which even eight years before still had the power to grip us with nuclear terror, had ended when the Eastern European states gave up communism and opted for what they saw as freedom, more or less, two years before that. When the end of the USSR became official that Christmas morning, we barely glanced up from our presents.

But something very fundamental had changed. A few years after that, Dick Wright, who taught journalism with me at Wayne State University, stopped by my office. He had studied the Soviet Union in army intelligence and spoke and understood Russian.

He also cared about the labor movement, and about workers in America, and he made a casual comment that I instantly saw held the key to a lot of what was going on in this society.

"You know, I really felt that people here didn't realize how bad it was when the USSR ceased to exist," he said. "It was corrupt and all that, of course, but it was officially a workers' state. They had gotten rid of the capitalists. And while you never would have wanted to live there, I always felt it was a good thing that it existed.

"That's because as long as it was there, there would always be the thought in the bosses' minds that maybe we better show some decency to our workers, pay them a decent wage."

Dick Wright, a truly decent man, died a few years later. I'm not sure whether he was right about the example of the Soviet Union serving as a deterrent to the nation's exploiters. I know that Franklin D. Roosevelt and a lot of other people believed in the 1930s that either we do something for the ordinary man, or we risked communism or, more likely, some form of fascism.

But most of the exploiters of his day were too stupid to see that the patrician FDR and his New Dealers were working hard to save them from themselves. If anything, today's seem even stupider.

Corporate America and the Republican Party seem to think they can export all the jobs overseas, end unemployment insurance and welfare for those they've screwed over, all with no negative consequences to themselves. The not-so-big-three are now paying newly hired autoworkers salaries too small for them to be able to afford new cars, much less a house and a family.

Let's see ... doesn't all this remind you of a book by Karl Marx called Das Kapital? Does anybody other than me remember how it turned out? We are creating an ever larger, ever more desperate class of unemployed and unemployable people.

We need to wake up and remember that we are all in this together, or, once again, as John F. Kennedy said half a century ago, "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it can't save the few who are rich." We desperately need leaders who are not too stupid or greedy to understand that, and need to find them soon.

 

Snyder puts his foot in it: Whatever you think of his policies, our governor has had a remarkably successful year.

The Legislature enacted virtually his entire program, from the huge business tax cut to the pension tax. His only main setback was over the needed New International Trade Crossing bridge, where he evidently miscalculated Matty Moroun's ability to buy the lawmakers.

Look for more of that epic struggle soon. Up to now, Snyder has avoided messy social legislation, or hatefully attacking the unions to the extent that the governors of Ohio and Wisconsin have.

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