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  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

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  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now

    The schedule for Blowout 17, taking place Wednesday April 30 to Saturday May 3 in Hamtramck, Detroit and Ferndale, is available to see now. Visit to see the schedule and plan your festival. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s

    The Trash Brats hardly ever play live anymore, so each show feels like an event. Wandering around Small’s in Hamtramck late Saturday night, there’s a near-carnival atmosphere in the air. The Brats were never supposed to be taken seriously, but years on-and-off the radar have given the band the gift of respect born out of longevity. We’re not being dismissive at all. In fact, no amount of kooky faces from guitarist Ricky Rat and bassist Toni Romeo can hide the fact that these boys can play and the band writes killer bubblegum sleaze-rock tunes. The fact that the venue was packed compared to, say, a recent show by internationally known punk icons Sylvain Sylvain and Glen Matlock (which you would think would attract a similar audience) is testament to the fact that, in Detroit, the Trash Brats command a certain reverence. Before the Trash Brats took to the stage, local punks The Dives kicked off the night with a set of sincere, energetic and well-performed, if standard, punk rock. No frills (besides frontman Ron McPherson’s dapper suit), the band features members of the Junk Monkeys, the Black Mollies and the Joint Chiefs, and it drives through a set of catchy, […]

    The post City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art

    By: Ayana Bryant-Weekes The Red Bull House of Art, a multidisciplinary and collaborative art project, relieves the stress of financial limitation or lack of tools and space so budding artists can manifest their creative dreams right here in Detroit. Six artists are selected for a three-month residency where they are provided individual studio space and materials, allowing their artistic concepts to flow freely. At the end of each residency is an unveiling and public display at the Red Bull House of Art Gallery. As show curator Matt Eaton told us in a 2013 interview, “The selection process for the current crop of artists was just the same as every round. The goal is not to find the hippest, coolest artists (though I think they are all very cool), but to find the people who may not typically have a voice.” This year, for the first time, Red Bull House of Art will showcase more than just Detroit artists. National artists from across the country in a special artist-in-residency program will have the opportunity to showcase their work to a much broader audience, and bring a national art stage to the Motor City. Since opening, 54 Detroit-based artists have been given the […]

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Stir It Up

Playing the 47s

Romney — weirdness you can count on

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Playing the dozens is a traditional African-American game in which the participants try to cleverly insult each other. The game generally ends when one insult is so good that the opponent is either left speechless or any rejoinder is so lame by comparison he may as well keep his mouth shut ... or when one participant becomes so pissed-off by the insult hurled his way that he forgets he's engaged in verbal jocularity and starts smacking his opponent around with his fists.

The thing about the dozens is you can take any feature of a person and blow it up to incredible proportions that defy sensibility — as in "yo' mama's feet are so big she wears boxcars for slippers."

It's similar to the kind of thing that political campaigns indulge in when the other side commits some slight faux pas and it becomes magnified to the grossest proportions. From where I sit it looks like the right-wing of the Republican Party has become expert at playing a particularly cutthroat, high-stakes version of the dozens. Their most vicious attack is stretching the fact that Obama's father is Kenyan to the conclusion that our president is not American — he's not one of us. The claims that he's a Muslim and a socialist are not far behind. They have taken it so far that it's way more than playing the dozens. They're playing the 47s.

It's those kind of people that candidate Mitt Romney was playing to when he made the now infamous "47 percent" comments at a high-end fundraiser this past spring. Romney described 47 percent of Americans as people who "are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims." Concluding that the 47 percent won't vote for him in any case, he went on to say, "my job is not to worry about those people."

Romney has since claimed that he is concerned about 100 percent of Americans, but I put more belief in what he said behind closed doors when he thought the camera was not rolling than what he said to the media while playing damage control after the comments became public. Come on, he first stood by the sentiment while admitting it was inelegantly stated. So from now on the number 47 will be permanently attached to Romney in my mind. He's Romney47, sort of like we have Bush 41 and Bush 43 — except the 47 has nothing to do with where he falls in the line of presidents. That's a line I hope he never gets to stand in.

Maybe the reason he was attracted to that number is because he was born in '47 (that's 1947 to you pikers — at least you're a piker in relation to the kind of investments Romney47 makes). That was the Chinese Year of the Pig, and Romney47 has been no less than piggish in creating the Obama advantage in support from women. The "binders full of women" comment from the second debate has played nearly as badly as if he'd said he has a little black book full of women. Not only did he blow the question about women's pay equity by not answering it, he probably blew any chance to garner more significant support from women. 

The alien spacecraft crash that supposedly took place at Roswell, N.M., was in 1947. While the government disputes that this ever happened, I'm starting to wonder about the coincidence of Romney47's birth and the crash happening so close together. Is he an alien? The guy doesn't appear very comfortable in his human body and he seems to have a problem telling the difference between people and corporations ("my friend"). On top of that he doesn't seem to know that cars don't go in elevators and dogs don't ride on top of cars. Sometimes things happen at the same time by coincidence, sometimes not. Romney47 brags that no one has asked him for his birth certificate. Well I'm asking. Could it be that he's actually a space alien?

The AK-47 assault rifle first went into production in the Soviet Union in 1947, and by the 1980s it was the most famous weapon of choice for American gangbangers. The National Rifle Association, which defends the right of any addled person to buy the assault weapon of their choice, has endorsed Romeny47. The candidate himself has flipped and flopped like a fish out of water on the gun control issue, but he's certainly shown that he's not ready to stand up to a strong lobby like the one wielded by the NRA.

And this final coincidence is that the World Bank began operating in 1947. Romney47 is a World Bank kind of guy; at least he banks around the world. Could it be that his arrival in 1947 was an alien plot to take over the world economy?

Not all 47s are bad. Bo Diddley rocked out on "Who Do You Love" with the lyric, "I walked 47 miles of barbed wire." But the song still touched Romney47's life because that is what his dog Seamus was howling when Romney threw him on the car roof for a vacation trip back in 1983.

Romney47 is willing to stretch the truth, and even go so far as to fib, in order to attain his goals. He's given a nod to the extremist Birthers, who seem to actually believe what they say. The problem is that Romney47 has taken so many different positions on the same issue that it's hard to know what he really believes. Health care reform is good, and then it's bad. Planned Parenthood is good, then it's bad. Romney47 wants to be president so bad, he's willing to court the Tea Party. Oops, that's no exaggeration. It's true.

By the way, when Romney47 sings the song "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" he never goes below 47. It's a long song and he can't be bothered concerning himself with what those people do with their beer. They probably got it on some kind of government program.

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