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  • City Slang: Diana Ross to open Freedom Hill season

    Motown legend Diana Ross will open up the Freedom Hill season on Friday, June 13. “We’re thrilled to have one of the greatest Motown singers of all time, Diana Ross, open our facility this season,” said Tom Celani, Owner of Luna Hillside, LLC. “We continue to bring big name talent to our venue and know fans will have a memorable time at this concert and throughout the 2014 season. A press release reads, “Born and raised in Detroit, Ross rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the renowned vocal group The Supremes, which, during the 1960s, became Motown’s most successful act and is to this day America’s most successful vocal group. In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Ross the most successful female music artist in history due to her success in the United States and United Kingdom for having more hits than any female artist in the charts with a career total of 70 hit singles and sold more than 100 million records worldwide with her work with the Supremes and as a solo artist.” Tickets go on sale Friday, April 25 at 10 a.m. Reserved tickets are $39.50, and there are a […]

    The post City Slang: Diana Ross to open Freedom Hill season appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



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Stir It Up

Li'l help from my friend

Mulenga Harangua talks politics while raiding the fridge

There was a knock at my door. I knew it was Mulenga Harangua because he used a beat from the Funkadelic's "Tear the Roof off the Sucker." It was a little involved but I recognized it from years of him pounding it into my head.

I pulled the door open and held my dog's collar at the same time. The dog sometimes viewed an open door as an opportunity to tour the neighborhood, and I didn't feel like chasing him around. 

"What's up, man? You're knocking at the front door instead of tapping on my window or sliding up through the yard. Don't you know people see you when you come to the front door?"

"I was going to sneak, but I noticed the streetlights are out in the neighborhood. I figured I'll just walk up the street. Besides I'm developing sophistication in my act. The best place to hide is right out in the open. The man doesn't bother me if I just act like I belong. Actually it looks kind of picturesque out here on the dark streets with the porch lights illuminating the houses. In my neighborhood we don't even have porch lights. Heck, in my neighborhood we don't even have lights."

"I try not to curse the darkness. So how did you get over here?"

"I got a raggedy bike I put together from pieces of scrap. It's on the side of your house."

"Do you have it locked?"

"Naw, if somebody wants it they can take it. I'll just stay here tonight."

I sidled over to the window to see that the bike was safe. The last time Mulenga crashed for the night he stayed two months. The only way I got rid of him was that he got together with one of my wife's girlfriends and moved in with her. It didn't last long and she won't talk to me anymore. But it got him out of my place.

Mulenga opened the refrigerator, pulled out a beer and settled into a chair.  "I came over to help you write your column."

"Oh, what should I write about?"

"Well one thing is this damned transit system. They tell us about the light rail line and how good it's going to be for economic development then all of a sudden they pull the rug out from under it. Now they say we can't afford it. We can't afford not to. I read stuff, man, and I've read where the economic development is so much better along rail lines than around bus lines. As far as I'm concerned saying we can't afford rail means we can't afford to invest in our future. It means we're never going to pull ourselves out of this mess. It's just another way of holding us down."

"Preach, brother."

"I have never heard of a place that is famous for its great buses. It's trains. When you go to New York you ride the subway, same thing with Paris, Tokyo. Great cities are known for their trains, not their buses. Even Chicago has the El. I guess we're setting the bar low in Detroit."

That diatribe must have made Mulenga thirsty. He lifted his beer bottle and drained it. Then he went over to the fridge and got another. He also pulled out half of a corned beef sandwich I'd put there in the afternoon. Mulenga plopped back down in his seat and took a big bite of the sandwich. I kept my eye on his bike.

"What else should I write about?"

"The city's budget and this emergency manager crap. I went down to the City Council meeting the day they had the union people talk about their proposals to save the city money. First of all, this $220 million the state owes us, it's just another way of gaming the city. First they make a deal with us, we fulfill our side of the bargain, but I don't hear anybody from the state denying that the deal was made. All I hear is that the state isn't going to come up with the money. So they rip us off and then want to say we don't know how to manage our money and they're going to send somebody to oversee us? That's the stupidest thing I ever heard of."

"Amen to that."

"Anyway, at that meeting I heard some good stuff discussed. The city has tens of thousands of contracts with private companies. For instance, we're sending buses out to be repaired when we have mechanics on payroll that could do the work. We even pay a fee for the contractors to pick up the buses and return them. That doesn't make sense. Anyhow, a lot of these contracts have been renewed for years. There could be huge savings with just reviewing those contracts. When Mayor Dave Bing gave his speech on the city economy he asked for contractors to voluntarily give up a small percentage of what they get paid. I don't think they're lining up to do that. Some folks at the meeting said that the city pays Blue Cross $300 million each year yet there are other providers who could give us equal services for half the money. We should at least look into it. Saving half of that bill would pretty much cover the budget shortfall."

"Tell me about it." I held my hands up with the palms toward Mulenga, he was on a roll and I didn't want to slow him down.

"That's like the County Commission just told County Executive Robert Ficano that they weren't going to pay for a private company to represent the county with these federal subpoenas when they already have a legal department on the payroll. It's about time they stood up and let him know he's not running a fiefdom."

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