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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 / 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.

    The post Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Stir It Up

Is it Dearbornistan?

Ignorant comments about 'sharia law' in Dearborn get a thorough debunking

Hating on Muslims seems to be very popular these days among the politically conservative set, as in the controversy over the so-called "Ground Zero mosque." And one of the objects of that hate seems to be the alleged creeping influence of sharia.

Sharia is the sacred law of Islam, although there are different interpretations of that law within different schools of Islamic thought. However, just as Christian beliefs have an impact on American laws, sharia influences the legal systems of most predominantly Muslim countries.

A lot of that hating comes to Dearborn, since that city has one of the largest, most concentrated, populations of Arabic people outside the Middle East. Of Dearborn's 100,000 residents, about 30,000 are Arabic or of Arabic descent. Some 60 percent — about 20,000 people — of them are Muslim; the rest are mostly Christian. Since hating on Muslims is so in vogue, Dearborn is catching attention from near and far.

For instance, recently Sharron Angle, a Republican Senate candidate in Nevada, said: "Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas, are on American soil, and under constitutional law. Not sharia law. And I don't know how that happened in the United States. It seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our United States."

Whoa! There was no comment from Frankford, which ceased to exist during the 1970s, but Dearborn Mayor John O'Reilly emphatically denies being under sharia, according to an open letter he wrote to Angle, in which he invited her to see how aw-shucks, American-as-apple-pie the city is. After all, Dearborn has the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village and a satellite campus of the University of Michigan. Indeed, Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have given speeches there. And, here's the clincher, he said that many Muslims in Dearborn "participate in Christian holiday activities."

O'Reilly, apparently a foolish puppet of the jihadists, pointed out that Dearborn was just misunderstood. "I don't blame you entirely for misunderstanding Dearborn," he wrote. "The international, national and even regional media haven't always painted an accurate picture of Dearborn. ... We are often used to provide visual accompaniment to global news items, even if they are unconnected to our community."

See, it was just a big misunderstanding. I called over to O'Reilly's office to see if he could elaborate on the subject but Department of Public Information Director Mary Laundroche told me they were sticking by the letter as what O'Reilly has to say on the subject.

What if Angle did come to Dearborn? What would she see? Well if she'd shown up last Friday she could have seen gubernatorial candidates Virg Bernero and Rick Snyder speaking at the American Arab Chamber of Commerce annual banquet. On the one hand, this could be seen as a wonderful participation in the political process.

But the conservatives know what's really going on. Blogger Debbie Schlussel, a lawyer, journalist and former Republican candidate for the state House from Oakland County, wrote that the candidates were speaking at an "anti-Israel dinner honoring Hamas fundraiser," as she phrased it in a headline.

She refers to the city as Dearbornistan, dismisses Bernero as a "radical Democrat," and adds some special venom for Snyder, saying, "I had planned on voting for Rick Snyder, the Republican candidate for Governor in Michigan. But, now, I will simply throw away my vote and cast it for the Libertarian candidate, whoever he or she is. That both candidates of major parties are at this dinner tells me there is little principle in either of these men. Once he's elected, I and my clients have a few plans for Mr. Snyder vis-a-vis the Muslim extremists with whom he'll hang tomorrow night. And it will be via the court system, the only place where he'll be forced to respond and might be held accountable."

Maybe it's not so easy to be a so-called, Republican moderate, which is how Snyder is characterized. I called over to the chamber, but they said they were too busy getting ready for their banquet to discuss sharia with me.

If Angle were to visit Dearborn she might notice a substantial number of women wearing the hijab, a head covering, even if many Muslims have adopted "popular styles in their dress" as O'Reilly said in his letter. She would see numerous restaurants and stores touting that they have halal products. Halal is an Arabic word that means "permissible," referring to food that has been properly prepared according to Islamic rules, and which contains no forbidden products. It is not very different from the Jewish kosher rules. In fact, the two sets of regulations are so similar that observant Muslims have been known to eat at kosher restaurants in order to satisfy their eating requirements.

Serving halal food where there are a lot of people who eat it makes good business sense. In 2008, a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Dearborn began serving finger-lickin' chicken halal-style (which mostly has to do with how the chickens are killed and drained of blood).

The conservative blogosphere responded to that with some choice hating. On a site called Bare Naked Islam, this was hailed as a sign of how "Muslim immigration and liberal multiculturalism have destroyed Detroit." Another blogger, Pat Dollard, seems to have Photoshopped a picture of Osama bin Laden next to the bearded Colonel Sanders icon as he decried that first Wal-Mart had catered to Muslims by going halal, and now KFC.

Don't these conservatives know that business drives our economy and that everything done to drive up revenue is all right?

But had Angle heard this one, I think it would have put her over the top. In August, during Ramadan — when devout Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown — the football team at Dearborn's Fordson High School practiced from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. because most of its players are Muslim and wouldn't have been able to drink water during the afternoon. That seems to make sense; no need killing those young men in the August sun (and Fordson went 7-2 this season — not bad). However, it's just another example of sharia creeping into America.

Then there's New Yorker Pamela Geller — called "the firebrand in chief" who galvanized national opposition to "the Ground Zero mega-mosque" on her Atlas Shrugged blog — who also seems to have it in for Dearborn. She put it this way in a recent interview: "It's a drip, drip, drip, drip, drip. ... These demands are a way of imposing Islam on a secular society. Asking for prayer space in public schools for Muslim children is imposing Islam. If the child is religious, send them to madrassa. If you don't want to handle meat that's not halal, don't become a cashier at Target or Wal-Mart."

I'm not mad at Dearborn or its people for being Muslims. Once upon a time Dearborn was known for being racist against blacks. In decades past, black Detroiters avoided going to Dearborn because to do that was courting trouble. Black people couldn't buy homes in Dearborn. Those days seem to be over, but apparently the days of hatred are still here.

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