Most Read
  • 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.

  • 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.



Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email

Stir It Up

Onstage with Obama

How I wound up sharing the spotlight with the president

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

President Obama works the crowd after his Labor Day address in Detroit.

I was all set to lead a traditional New Orleans brass-band second line for a local union in the Labor Day parade. Then I got a call two days before the holiday asking if I'd like to be onstage with President Barack Obama for his speech in Detroit. I'm always ready to second line at the drop of an umbrella, but I figured sitting with the president was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I gave up my Mardi Gras beads for union gear.

Then I learned that I was one of 250 "onstage participants" and figured they need another hairy, wild-looking guy to balance their diverse demographics. I also I figured that I would be squeezed off to the side behind some large person, invisible to the cameras.

It was cold and breezy on Monday morning when I arrived at the area where the onstage participants were supposed to enter. Except there was no one there to greet us and the Secret Service guy (or whatever kind of fed he was) didn't know we were coming. He said that unless we were members of Congress we weren't getting in there and told us to go to the other side of the parking structure where most of the attendees were entering. He was gruff and made no bones about the fact that he was in charge and we weren't getting in. The people at the gate he sent us to then sent us back to his gate. And he sent us back to their gate. After ping-ponging back and forth between the two spots, we all decided to huddle in the middle until somebody who knew what was going on showed up.

Eventually they appeared and led us back to the point where the Secret Service man guarded the entrance. He still didn't want to let us in, but the woman in charge of our group pressed her point and waved a handful of papers in his face. He relented, but gave us a last sign that he was in charge by yelling at us to get in a single-file line or we weren't going to get in.

That was the first security point. At the next one we had our names checked off the list for a second time and were given green wristbands like those you get at concerts. At the third checkpoint, we had to go through metal detectors and the women had their purses searched. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Rep. John Conyers and Michigan AFL-CIO director Mark Gaffney arrived as we were going in, and they went through the same security we did. At the fourth checkpoint, they just checked to make sure everyone passing through had the green wristband on.

As we arrived at the stage area, I found out that being an onstage participant meant sitting on the bleachers behind the stage with a passageway between them (although when I saw TV news coverage later it indeed looked like we were onstage). Many of the higher and side bleacher seats were taken. I sat near the front in the middle. That would seem to be a good spot, but the seat was right behind the riser with the drum set for Aretha Franklin's performance to get us ready for the president. So I sat contentedly behind the drums watching the Secret Service guys give evil stares to anyone who wandered too close to whatever area they were guarding. Maybe there were Secret Service women, but they weren't wearing the black suit, shades and earpieces the guys sported.

Eventually we got started with the national anthem sung by a group from the Mosaic Youth Theatre, and prayers from a minister and a rabbi (hmm ... no imam). Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO president Saundra Williams and Gaffney shared the emcee duties as a parade of politicians and union leaders spoke. Conyers, Stabenow, state Sen. Coleman A. Young II, and U.S. Reps. Hansen Clarke, John Dingell and probably a couple of others all spoke. I didn't have anything to take notes with. I can't recall all the union leaders, but UAW Secretary Treasurer Dennis Williams, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa were among them. The message was pretty consistent: Labor good, Republicans bad; support Obama.

Neither Detroit Mayor Dave Bing nor any Detroit City Council members were there; nor was Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, although there were plenty of recall Snyder petitions circulating. I also heard that some union leader said Bing wasn't invited to the party because he was no friend of labor. I couldn't verify that it was said, but it made sense. 

I also found it curious that the UAW's Williams spoke instead of UAW President Bob King. Then I thought about it. Williams, a former director of UAW Region 4 that includes Illinois, where Obama was once a state senator, was the first among the UAW's top leadership to support Obama's presidential candidacy. That made sense too. And later on I found out that King had flown in with the president on Air Force One. I also found that Bing and Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano greeted the president at the airport, so Obama was able to butter his bread on both sides.

Before the president came on, it was time for the Queen of Soul. The new, more svelte Franklin sang four songs, including the jazzy "Moody's Mood for Love" which I didn't expect to hear, and "Respect" which I did. After Franklin, the crew dismantled the drum set and took away the riser that it was on. Suddenly I was directly and visibly right behind the lectern where the president would speak. 

Obama came on and gave a decent speech for the occasion (you can find it at and the onstage gang did its best to cheer and clap for the applause lines, and threw in some chants of four more years here and there. I'm an Obama supporter. I may not agree with all his policies, but there are no Republicans I'd rather see in the White House. When I accepted the invitation to be there I decided that my job was to be supportive, pay attention, smile and clap. So I did it, and, apparently I was very visible just to the left of the president's shoulder. When he was done and waving to the crowd I pumped my fist into the air a few times, and Obama pointed his finger in my direction. I think he was responding to my fist pumps.

I got calls and e-mails from across the country from people I knew wondering if that was really me next seemingly to the president. Local news, CNN, MSNBC, PBS Newshour: I was on all of them, smiling and clapping. I was glad I did it. 

Obama's speech was more of a PR event. He saved the real meat for his Thursday night address to Congress on his jobs plan. That's an initiative we can't just smile and clap for. That's where the boots-on-the-ground activism is needed and crucial. And my little 15 minutes of fame means little in that context.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus