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  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Food trucks go to the dogs

    Today, starting at 10am, Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be swinging by the  Cherry Hill Village at Preservation Park on  N. Roosevelt St. in Canton. They’ll be serving the pups (“gour-mutts,” as Milo’s calls them) treats and the dog parents the opportunity of “family portraits.” Milo’s is on a cross-country food truck trip, promoting their “grilled burger bites” and “chicken meatballs” to pup parents from L.A. to NYC, with stops in between, including Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the Carolinas, and Arkansas. But watch out! Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck markets “real chicken and beef home-style dog treats” that are are “wholesome” and “authentic” without “artificial flavors or colors-made right here in the USA.” Authentic, processed food that is. Remember what George Carlin said about “home-style”? Their treats are also packed with soy, TVP, wheat flour, tapioca, rice, and sugar–fillers that make the meat go far and aren’t the best for your pup. They’re also packed with preservatives, like sodium erythorbate, nitrates, BHA, sodium tripolyphosphate, and potassium sorbate. Small amounts are probably ok, and no doubt the pup will love it, the same way it’s easy for humans to love carb- and sugar- laden, processed and preserved, treats.  

    The post Food trucks go to the dogs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

    Coming up on August 16, former Detroit Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt will team up with the Navin Field Grounds Crew and Metro Times‘ own Dave Mesrey to honor legend Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. The festivities, known as the annual “Bird Bash,” will be held at the infamous Nemo’s Bar & Grill, and will benefit The Bird’s favorite charity, the Wertz Warriors, and also the Mark Fidrych Foundation. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

    The post Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • First Little League game at Navin Field today

    Today Navin Field (the Old Tiger Stadium) hosts its first Little League game on a new field made just to host the youngsters! Here’s a photo of the game happening right now, courtesy Tom Derry and Metro Times‘ copy editor extraordinaire, Dave Mesrey: Stop by the site (corner of Michigan and Trumbull) today to watch history in the making!

    The post First Little League game at Navin Field today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Stir It Up

Mulenga's tinfoil hat

Harangua goes green, dons foil and wants Osama's death certificate

I picked up a flat of strawberries cheap at Eastern Market and figured I'd swing by Mulenga Harangua's place to share the wealth and find out the latest scuttlebutt. He's squatting in a west side house that looks like it's about to fall down — peeling paint, boarded windows, graffiti-covered. He didn't answer the door when I knocked, so I went around to the yard, figuring to leave the strawberries on the back porch.

When I got to the yard it was as if I had been transported to a verdant paradise. Mulenga is a black man with a green thumb. There were flowerbeds along one side of the lot with yellow and purple blooms already brightening up the view along with blossoms from a peach tree. Planting beds framed with scavenged bricks formed neat rows across the lot, and into the next one. No one lived next door, and the fence was long gone. Spring greens were already springing up in one bed while parsley thrived in the next one.

Looking farther back, I noticed a young lady who looked to be in her teens planting seedlings from a box. Four thick plaits hung from her head and she was very obviously pregnant. She moved with the easy elegance of someone who is very comfortable in her body. She wore a hat that looked like one that children would fold together from newspaper, except it seemed to be made from tin foil. Just then Mulenga stepped out of the garage, wiping his hands off on an oily rag. He wore a similar hat.

He gave me a big smile and came right over. "How ya doing?"

"Not bad. I got a good deal on these strawberries and thought I'd drop a few off here."

"Thanks, I appreciate that. My strawberries won't be coming in for a couple of weeks yet." He indicated a leafy hillock in the next yard before plucking a berry from the box I carried. He bit into the berry and made a face. "I don't mean to criticize your gift, but my berries are a lot sweeter and more flavorful than these. You need to come back when they're ripe."

I set the box of strawberries down. "So what's with the tin foil hat?"

"Oh, this is to protect us from radiation."

"The sun's rays are too much for you?"

"No. I'm talking about radiation from those damaged Japanese nuclear plants."

"But that doesn't pose a threat to us."

"That's what they'd like us to believe. They've found radiation spikes in this country. And when you add that to the daily radiation we already endure, well, I'm keeping the hat on."

"Suit yourself, but I don't think aluminum foil is going to help."

"Can't hurt."

The young lady had stopped planting and was looking in our direction. One hand held the shovel and the other rested on her hip as the sun glinted off her hat. My curiosity kicked in.

"Who's the young lady? And tell me you're not the father."

"Man, do you think I'm some kind of child molester. She ain't but 16."

"And who is she?"

"That's Christy. She's one of those girls from the Catherine Ferguson Academy. You know the school for pregnant teenagers."

"What's she doing here?"

Mulenga spread his arms wide to indicate his fiefdom. "She is making this happen. It started last year when I went by the school to check out what they were doing. She was in the field and I started asking questions that she had answers for. After I went by there a few times, she asked to visit my garden. She's got the know-how. I can make things grow, but she's helped me turn this into a garden of paradise."

Mulenga indicated a pile of grayish clumps next to the garage. "See that; it's bird droppings. There's plenty of it in some of these abandoned buildings. It makes decent fertilizer. Then I've got a compost pile over in the easement where I throw all my cuttings, clippings and kitchen waste. Christy got me doing that. As much as this girl knows about agriculture, I can't believe they're closing down that school."

"If they don't turn it into a charter school."

"That just goes to show you that the city doesn't want urban agriculture to take off. If they did then why would they close up the best training program we have here in the city?"

"The mayor has expressed his doubts about the city going in that direction. However, the mayor doesn't run the schools. That's the EFM's bailiwick."

"Regardless, urban agriculture is something that people want so I guess it's something for the city to scoff at. I see people getting into this and it changes their lives. People who seemed lost to the world suddenly get connected to it. Christy is so much into it I think she's gonna be lost if they close that school."

"So where does she live?"


"What? Are you crazy? You can't have a 16-year-old pregnant girl living here with you. What about her family?"

"They put her out."

"What are you going to do when the baby comes? It looks like it could be any day now."

"We're still a few weeks away. I met these Muslim midwives at the produce market where I drop a few things off on consignment. I'm going to take her over to them when the time comes."

"So are you ready to be a baby's daddy?"

Mulenga squirmed uneasily. "We'll see how that goes. But in the meantime, she's been helping me, and I'm gonna help her. It would help if I could get some cash flowing through here. She's got some ideas, but they're going to take some time."

"You're not growing marijuana here, are you?"

"That would be one hell of a cash crop — that's for sure. But I'm not trying to go to jail. There's probably somebody growing weed nearby, but I'm not one of them. I need to keep myself free and unencumbered for my political activism."

"What political activities."

"I've decided to become a Deather."

"What does that mean? You want to die?"

"You've heard of the Truthers who believe the real story about what happened on 9/11 has been covered up; and the Birthers who believe that President Obama wasn't born in the United States and is therefore ineligible to be president. Well, the Deathers want proof that Osama bin Laden is really dead. Obama could start by releasing the long-form death certificate."

"Why do you want to do that? Do you really believe bin Laden isn't dead?"

"They could have him locked up in Montana somewhere as far as I know. I am for full disclosure of everything no matter what."

"Does that include those shoplifting convictions you had from when we were teenagers?"

"Well, maybe there are some things we don't need to talk about."

"You know what? I think that tin foil has gone to your head."

"I'm a Tin Man with a heart. And, this," he indicated the yard with a sweep of his arm, "is my Emerald City."

Hmm ... I guess there's no place like home.

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