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  • City Slang: Diana Ross to open Freedom Hill season

    Motown legend Diana Ross will open up the Freedom Hill season on Friday, June 13. “We’re thrilled to have one of the greatest Motown singers of all time, Diana Ross, open our facility this season,” said Tom Celani, Owner of Luna Hillside, LLC. “We continue to bring big name talent to our venue and know fans will have a memorable time at this concert and throughout the 2014 season. A press release reads, “Born and raised in Detroit, Ross rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the renowned vocal group The Supremes, which, during the 1960s, became Motown’s most successful act and is to this day America’s most successful vocal group. In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Ross the most successful female music artist in history due to her success in the United States and United Kingdom for having more hits than any female artist in the charts with a career total of 70 hit singles and sold more than 100 million records worldwide with her work with the Supremes and as a solo artist.” Tickets go on sale Friday, April 25 at 10 a.m. Reserved tickets are $39.50, and there are a […]

    The post City Slang: Diana Ross to open Freedom Hill season appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

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Higher Ground

Read the news ... oh, boy

Still shrill: Opponents of pot as histrionic as ever.

I said goodbye to Amsterdam after a long and productive winter spent living and working in the bosom of my extended family at Radio Free Amsterdam, serving as poet in residence at the 420 Café and daily enjoying the freedom to smoke marijuana at will whether one is sick or not.

Arriving at the London St. Pancras train station, I caught the Piccadilly tube to my modest quarters at the Headpress bunker in Wood Green and picked up a copy of the Evening Standard on the way, only to find a full-blown revival of the Reefer Madness approach on the front page of the Health & Beauty section from a writer named Sophie Goodchild: "OUT OF THEIR MINDS: THE TRUTH ABOUT TEENS, CANNABIS AND PSYCHOSIS."

"The award-winning foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn describes how his son Henry turned from talented artist to disheveled wreck," Sophie reports.

"'He stopped shaving or washing his hair and went barefoot, so his feet became septic. He also soiled his jeans more than once.'

"Author Julie Myerson also knows how excessive cannabis use can threaten to wreck families," Sophie goes on. "Her son Jake became hooked on the potent 'skunk' form of cannabis and Myerson was forced to throw him out of the family home in south London."

Harry Anslinger must be dancing in his grave to hear this drivel. A sidebar titled "CANNABIS: THE LOWS" proclaims "You may have a problem if you answer 'yes' to any of the following:

1) Do you ever get high alone?" Every day, lady, every day!

5) "When your stash is nearly empty, do you feel anxious or worried about how to get more?" Every time, lady, every time — unless I'm in Amsterdam, where they always have exactly what you want at the hash counter, any time you want it. No anxiety there! And in Michigan now, only when one's caregiver hasn't arrived by the appointed hour or it's after closing at the compassionate care center.

Me, I'm addicted to newspapers, and I follow the global cannabis news pretty closely, but it's been quite a while since this particular tack has been taken. Generally marijuana seems to be considered basically harmless and is grudgingly conceded even to have positive medicinal properties, but it gets you high and there's supposedly something fundamentally wrong with that.

Bang! The woodwork squeaks and out come all the freaks of law enforcement to terrorize and abuse the smoking population for several generations, in ways and with means way too vast to enumerate here. Plus which, as they say, there's the "preaching to the choir" factor where the speaker keeps saying the same things over and over again and everyone says "amen" and outside the church the sinners and the greedheads and the money-changers just keep on stepping.

My problem is that the more I think about it the madder I get. Despite the reams of righteous information and reasonable argument against the idiotic War on Drugs and the insufferable ignorance and brutality with which it is waged, hundreds of thousands of marijuana smokers continue to be victimized and persecuted by its relentless minions, dragged through the courts and jails and "treatment programs," imprisoned, stripped of their rights, and treated like vicious criminals.

But in the end it's all about getting high — and what's wrong with that? They get high and we don't put them in prison. You can't even read the Metro Times online without a bunch of vodka all up in your face, but you have to worry about getting searched and arrested every time you leave the pad because you've got a couple of joints in your pocket? Or be getting high and listening to some records and the storm troopers come busting into your house like you had John Dillinger in there with you?

Like Richard Pryor said, "How long? How long must this bullshit go on?" And I guess the answer is, as long as we let them get away with it. It's a big job to end the War on Drugs, because even though it's been well-established that the emperor is completely bereft of clothing, he still has his Army and Navy and Marine Corps and their local equivalents, his legions of prison guards and employees, his endless ranks of lawyers and court personnel to churn the reeking cauldron of "justice" — or to cite the late brother Pryor again, "just us."

If you want a perfect example of what this mess is really about, look no further than to the immediate north of Detroit, where the law enforcement establishment of Oakland County and several of its communities continue to punish marijuana smokers — even state-sanctioned medical marijuana patients and their licensed suppliers ("caregivers") — as if the state's marijuana laws had not actually been severely altered by the action of a majority of its voters.

But the nature of the law doesn't really bother the forces of enforcement as long as they can get away with their devilishment and keep raking in the proceeds from the state Legislature and the county commissioners and the searches and seizures and confiscations that are their rewards for trying to keep us from getting high or simply taking our medicine.


Books:
I read in AlterNet of a pair of books that bear on our subject, however tangentially. This first is by a guy I knew back in the day, when he was attending the University of Michigan, Daniel Okrent, who's gone on to wide journalistic acclaim. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (Scribner) deals with the period "when booze was banned but pot was not" and is instructive for its study of an illegal substance and the culture that grew out of it, and also for pointing out that alcohol prohibition lasted only 12 years while ours has been going on eight or nine times longer than even the War in Afghanistan.

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