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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

Leadership for sale

Lackeys in Lansing take a holiday

Michigan legislators make pretty good money, as state lawmaker salaries go. Every one of our 148 elected representatives will be paid more than $6,600 this month. Paid that by your poor, cash-strapped Michigan, paid with our taxpayer dollars ... even though they aren't doing any more of the people's business. They've knocked off for the year, you see.

They think they need another long paid vacation. That's not to say they solved the state's problems, or even made things better. They almost completely failed to address the state's real difficulties, such as school funding or the system that produces budget deficits year after year. Most didn't care enough.

And many of them were rewarded handsomely not to do anything serious to make life better for ordinary people.

Anyone who tried to do that could be assured that Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop would block anything decent from happening. He had one small failure: the smoking ban. The Rochester Republican didn't want to outlaw smoking in bars and restaurants, and for a time, prevented any vote on the issue. But in the end, part of his own caucus, led by state Sen. Tom George of Kalamazoo, revolted. George is normally a right-winger, but he's also a physician who knows that second-hand smoke kills people. Outgunned, Bishop had to let the good guys win this one last spring. But it probably wasn't all that big a deal to him; the opponents of the smoking ban weren't giving him the kind of money Matty Moroun was.

Want a perfect example of the failure of our democracy? Look at what happened last week with the proposed new Detroit River International Crossing Bridge. Virtually every business, labor and corporate interest wants a new bridge. Canada offered to front Michigan's costs, meaning we wouldn't have to pay a dime.

The project, state Sen. Ray Basham of Taylor told me, would create 10,000 good-paying construction and other jobs, most of which would go to Michigan residents. Sarah Hubbard, of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, said ripple effects meant the number of new jobs would expand to 35,000.

Anyone who knows how desperate people are, with unemployment running out for hundreds of thousands, knows how badly needed those jobs are. But two men were determined to prevent them from happening. Bishop, of course, but he was a mere lackey of the real bloated spider of corruption: That would be Manuel J. "Matty" Moroun, the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, who doesn't want his monopoly threatened.

Moroun, an 83-year-old billionaire and probably Detroit's worst slumlord (just think the hulking ruin of the old Michigan Central train station) sent forth his wage slaves and minions to block the new bridge. They lied, misrepresented, improperly seized city land, and most of all, got themselves the best government that their money can buy. Most of all, they showered politicians with cash contributions.

Newspaper reports indicate Moroun coughed up more than $1 million for federal and state candidates and political action committees in the last few years. More than $75,000 went to Bishop's campaign for the GOP nomination for attorney general. He didn't get it, which may prove the existence of some kind of god. What's interesting, however, is that the AG candidate is picked by party insiders, not voters. So what did Bishop need the money for? Moroun also gave at least $150,000 to committees to elect GOP Senate candidates.

Legal? Yes, thanks to our cockeyed system, which calls a billionaire's attempt to buy a legislature "free speech."

Rich Robinson of the Michigan Finance Network more accurately called it "a form of legalized bribery." But Moroun won, of course. Basham, who was also instrumental in getting the smoking ban accomplished, waged a heroic, last-ditch fight to the end.

In May, Bishop promised an up-or-down vote on the bridge, but cynically decided to break his word in November. Basham last week tried a legislative "Hail Mary pass," to get the bill to the floor. He was no match for Moroun's dollars.

That was that. Now, Moroun's activities have been written about many times before, in this column and elsewhere. The facts of the matter and the need for a new bridge were well-known. But that didn't make any difference to the lawmakers, or to an increasingly apathetic public. "Nobody cares!" said Macomb County Circuit Judge Matthew Switalski, when I ran into him at a party last weekend. The judge seemed mildly amazed. "You wrote about all these things, and people just don't care."

Yeah, well, what can you say? Everyone may be getting screwed. But hey, they can watch Hung on their DVRs any time they want to.

There was one mild bit of low comedy at the end. State Rep. Brian Calley, who will be Michigan's new lieutenant governor, is a run-of-the-mill conservative who, at the end of the session, made an impassioned plea to his fellow Republicans to require insurance coverage for autism.

Huh? Republicans never want to force insurance companies to do anything. However, Calley just happens to have an autistic child. Interesting how something like that can change your perspective. Calley was silly enough to try to persuade Mike Bishop and his pals to show signs of humanity.

"I don't think you've got a shot in hell," one wise senator correctly told him. Naturally, Bishop wouldn't allow a vote on autism either. If the new lieutenant governor wanted compassion and understanding, he'd have been better off going to Matty Moroun.

 

Final thoughts on Helen Thomas: Last May, the journalism legend was fired after she told a blogger with a video camera that Jews should get "the hell out" of Israel and go back to "Germany, Poland, America" or anyplace else.

Awful as those remarks were, it was possible to believe she was just having a bad day and was reacting irritably to what amounted to an ambush interview. Nor was it clear whether she was challenging Israel's right to exist, or merely saying that it should leave the territories their armies have occupied since the 1967 war.

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