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    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

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    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.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Stir It Up

Mulenga's blues riff

"Maybe they don’t like democracry if they have to share it"

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

One thing my pal Mulenga Harangua and I always enjoy is a good walk. Something about walking together makes the talking so much more enjoyable. I don't know why, but ideas and words seem so much more vibrant when combined with moving feet. 

We met over in Rivertown where the Soup Kitchen Saloon used to be. I saw blues stars there like Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon, but the place is shuttered now. One time my cousin came into town with Harry Connick Jr.'s big band and after their show all the guys wanted to go to the Soup Kitchen. They had heard that was the place to go in Detroit. Not anymore. It shut down in the 1990s when Mayor Dennis Archer was trying to create a casino district in the area. 

Mulenga was waiting in the lot across the street from the old storefront as I approached for a meander around the neighborhood. The temperate winter weather had encouraged us to plan the walk but as it turned out, the day we went out there was snow flying down near the river. When he saw me he pulled a harmonica out from under his layers of clothing and blew a couple of notes.

"So, you're playing the harp now?"

"Well, I just know 'Home on the Range,' but the Republicans who came to hear Mitt Romney's speech at Ford Field seemed to like it. I played it over and over and collected almost $30 out there last week. There weren't very many of them, but two different guys gave me $10. They seem to like music even if it's off-key. I saw that news clip of Romney singing 'America the Beautiful' down in Florida."

"This has got to be one of the singingest election cycles I've ever seen. First you had Herman Cain out there singing 'Amazing Grace' to the melody of 'Danny Boy.' Then you had Obama out there channeling Al Green. Then he was out there singing the blues with B.B. King and Mick Jagger."

"At least he was smart enough not to sing the whole song either time." Mulenga blew a couple of tentative notes on the harp. It sounded like he was trying to find "Sweet Home Chicago," but he got lost on the way.

"Well, I'll be glad when the primary is over and I don't have to hear all the commercials. They'll be back when the general election kicks in but at least we get a break now."

"We get a break on the commercials for a while, but those Republicans don't seem to be giving a break to anyone who isn't a heterosexual white man."

"What do you mean?" We reached the river, and I leaned on the Riverwalk railing and watched the water flow past. 

"Well, it seems like every week at least one of them does or says something offensive to somebody. Like when they had the panel on birth control and the only people on it were men. It's a no-brainer that if you are going to have a panel on birth control, women should be involved. Even I know that. Then in Virginia they had that vaginal probe bill. It was defeated, but that certainly didn't make them look good to even propose it."

"A useless sonogram to attack women who are already in an emotionally tough situation, it wasn't a smart move." I gazed at a freighter working its way down the river. 

"Then there's the gay marriage issue. When the California appeals court struck down the gay marriage ban, Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum couldn't wait to condemn the ruling. You'd think they were running for pope."

"Careful now," I said. "You don't want to upset the Catholics, though Santorum is doing his best to get them riled up."

"Then, last week they had that debate in Arizona where they all piled on the illegal immigration issue. It sounded like they were ready to break out the trowels and start laying bricks to secure the border."

"So you want to let the illegal immigrants just flow across the border?" I asked.

"I don't know what to do about that. It's just that nobody invited the Europeans over and here they are. And I've got to think that there are enough Hispanic voters in the southwest that it's better not to alienate them." 

Mulenga brought the harmonica up to his mouth again. He pursed his lips to blow but fumbled the instrument and it fell into the river.

"Shit! Well, that's over. I was just getting into it."

"Don't worry. I'll get you another one. But tell me more about the Republicans and how they're putting so much hate out there."

"Well, we already know how they've been slamming black people, particularly President Obama, calling him the welfare president and all. You wrote about that in your column a few weeks ago."

"Yep, thanks for paying attention to it."

"I did more than that. I'm spreading the word. It would be even better if I had an address and could vote."

"That will take some doing, but it looks like you understand what's going on out here. So let's add it up here. Republicans are slamming women, gays, Hispanics and blacks. It looks like the Asians are getting off the hook."

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