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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 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 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.

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Politics & Prejudices

Michigan slime time

Scheming and money-grubbing in Lansing

Photo: , License: N/A

The Ambassador Bridge is a monopoly. Matty Moroun wants to keep it that way.

Equal Justice Under Law. Those words are carved over the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., and when you see that majestic structure, and think of the great men once on the court, you can almost believe in that concept. Equal justice, under law.

Then there is Michigan. If our state government were to engrave a motto on the Capitol Building in Washington, it would take two lines. The first would say: Money Talks, We Listen.

Beneath that it would say, Screw Justice: We Protect Our Own.

We have a bunch of amoral hacks in this state, and a system that both rewards bad behavior and could turn Little Orphan Annie into a hardened cynic. Our Legislature is rapidly becoming both more corrupt and more and more irrelevant, which ought to worry you.

That's because for most people, state government is the branch of government that affects their lives the most.

Our lawmakers are supposed to act with the good of all the people in mind, study the issues, and look out for their interests. To be sure, some still do that. But not nearly enough of them.

Twenty years ago, we foolishly enacted a system of term limits, which have led to a vast increase in incompetence and corruption.

Lawmakers can stay in the state House for only six years and the Senate for eight, after which they are banned for life. This has meant three things: 1) There is no long-term memory of how to get things accomplished, 2) the special interests have far more power than they used to, since the lawmakers don't know as much, and at any rate, the lobbyists can wait them out, and 3) the legislators are even more prone to selling out, since they will need new jobs in a few years.

The best evidence of this is the well-documented case of Matty Moroun, the monopoly owner of the Ambassador Bridge. The need to build a new bridge over the Detroit River is perfectly clear.

It is essential for our long-term economic future. Canada will pay our share of the costs (we will pay them back later out of toll revenue from the new bridge, but only after it is constructed) and on top of that, we can use the $550 million from Canada to get $2.1 billion in federal matching highway funds from Washington. 

There is no downside, none. Except for Moroun, a man who is the moral equivalent of the spider Shelob in The Lord of the Rings. He is worth $1.8 billion, and is 85 years old, and wants more.

So to protect his monopoly, he has showered key legislators with lavish "campaign contributions" and managed to prevent the bridge bill from even coming up for a vote in the Legislature.

Never mind that Gov. Rick Snyder — whose party controls the Legislature — very much wants this bridge. Never mind that Ford, General Motors and Chrysler want the bridge, or that Jennifer Granholm, Brooks Patterson, Dave Bing and liberals and conservatives alike support the bridge. Money talks.

Matty bought the lawmakers; you can go to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network and look up who and how. In the end, Snyder went around them and found a way to do it anyway.

Even when lawmakers engage in even more blatant criminal-seeming behavior, the system, by and large, protects them.

Take the case of a particularly repellent creature, one state Rep. Roy Schmidt, from Grand Rapids. Schmidt was elected as a Democrat a few years ago, but his district has become more Republican. 

Lacking the loyalty of a sewer rat, Schmidt conspired with GOP Speaker of the House Jase Bolger to switch parties. 

While this was going on, Schmidt went right on raising money from his fellow Democrats. Lower than a snake's belly, yes. But that's far from the worst of it. He and Bolger wanted to make sure Schmidt had no real competition. So Schmidt not only waited to the last possible moment to switch parties, he attempted to offer what looked very much like a bribe to a phony candidate to run as a Democrat. 

His son offered Matt Mojzak, a store clerk he knew, $450 to file for the race. The idea, of course, was that he'd end up taking a fall. Mojzak, who didn't even live in the district, initially agreed — but then backed out. Desperate, the Schmidts offered him $1,000 instead, to be paid out of the lawmaker's campaign fund — money given to him by Democrats who thought he was one of them.

But Mojzak got scared or got a conscience — and stayed out of the race even after the legislator himself oozed into the store where he worked to try to get him to stay in. Schmidt then lied about even knowing Mojzak, a lie exposed when a prosecutor got hold of a long series of text messages. The state police were conducting an investigation, and Detective Robert Davis said in an affidavit that he believed both Bolger and Schmidt might have conspired to commit perjury.

I can think of a few other possible crimes as well. But not to worry, slime balls. Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth shut the investigation down, just before search warrants were executed. He said he concluded that none of his fellow Republicans had committed any crimes! Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, probably the most partisan AG in the office in my lifetime, was asked to reopen the investigation. He must have had to stifle his laughter.

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