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  • 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project

    By Amanda Mooney There’s a lot that goes into producing a film, and unless you are a filmmaker you really have no idea. Writing, casting, finding a location, shooting, and editing; each step of the process can take days, months, and sometimes years to complete. Can you imagine doing it ALL in just 48 hours? The 48 Hour Film Project is an annual competition that takes place all over the world in various cities. According to Mike Madigan, head of the Detroit 48 Hour chapter, the city is one of the largest participating in terms of the number of teams. The competing teams go in blind as to what kind of film they will be producing, with no creative planning beyond getting a cast and crew together, Madigan explained. “They pick a genre out of a hat, and they get a line, a prop, and a character. And they have to incorporate that within a short film, that’s usually between 4 to 7 minutes long. And they have the timeframe of doing it all within 48 hours,” said Madigan, “So all the creative process of it all has to happen within that 48 hour–writing a script, putting it together, editing–to […]

    The post 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Passalacqua debut dark project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space

    Church: Revival is the new project by local rap duo Passalacqua (aka Bryan Lackner and Brent Smith), but it’s more than just a new Passalacqua release. The rappers teamed up with siblings Jax Anderson (frontwoman of rockers Flint Eastwood) and Seth Anderson, who together form the songwriting team called Syblyng (naturally). The result is a cycle of songs that promises to be darker than Passalacqua’s material so far. The project will make a live debut on Saturday, July 26 at a brand new venue space at the Detroit Bus Co.’s building Eight & Sand, and they will premiere the Right Bros.-directed video for the track “Baptism” as well. Other performances include Tunde Olaniran and Open Mike Eagle, and DJ sets by Nothing Elegant, Dante LaSalle, and Charles Trees. We met up the two duos at Eight & Sand to check out the new space and to talk about the project with all parties involved. Metro Times: How long have you been working together? Jax Anderson: Seth and I are constantly writing songs together. We want to push in the direction of becoming songwriters more frequently. This is our first project that we took on to co-write everything together. We’re basically just a songwriting entity. We won’t play live that […]

    The post Passalacqua debut dark project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan

    #150207742 / gettyimages.com As locals continue to flood Detroit streets to protest the city’s ongoing water debacle, one national organization is hoping to be part of the solution — that is, for a dietary price. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA as the organization is more commonly known, has offered to pay outstanding water bills for 10 Detroiters who are willing to go vegan for one month. “Vegan meals take far less of a toll on the Earth’s resources,” PETA representatives said in a recent press release. “It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce just a pound of meat but only about 155 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat.” PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk adds, “Vegan meals are also a cost-effective way to help prevent health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart conditions, the last thing that someone who is struggling financially needs to deal with.” Folks interested in participating are asked to send a copy of their most recent overdue water bill and their written pledge to go vegan for one month to PETA Attn: Detroit Water at 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510 before Aug. 1.

    The post PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Dinner Club Does Brunch

    Sure, The Dinner Club, a regularly occurring pop-up that takes places at the Storefront Gallery  in Ferndale (and other locations, occasionally), usually happens around dinner time, but this Sunday, July 27, there will be a special edition: Brunch Chef Matthew Baldridge, who’s resume includes stints at such Detroit greats as Cliff Bell’s, The Rattlesnake Club, and Seldom Blues, has crafted a menu of French-inspired items that employ locally procured ingredients. Brunch includes four courses where guests will be treated to such delights as cocoa, cinnamon, chili-spiced creamy grits with pickled strawberries, cocoa puffs and strawberry-infused syrup, a smoked gouda potato gallette with Faygo Root Beer braised pork belly, quail egg and Faygo Root Beer syrup, banana marscapone-filled French toast with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and balsamic syrup, and champagne-soaked strawberries. It is also important to note that brunch is BYOChampagne. Baldridge, along with The Storefront Gallery’s Derek John and Lilacpop Studio owner and artist Janna Coumoundouros, curate the event that includes an art show, a great playlist, and visuals. Brunch services are at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and last about two hours, only 20 seats are available at each service. The cost is $25 plus a service fee. The Storefront Gallery […]

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  • Jurassic 5 holds onto what’s golden

      By Ashley Zlatopolsky It’s been a little over twenty years since iconic ‘90s alternative hip-hop group Jurassic 5 first formed in Los Angeles’ Good Life club. Widely regarded as a pivotal influence in the decade’s underground hip-hop movement by critics and fans alike, the six-piece crew consisting of two DJs (Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark) and four MCs (Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7 and Chali 2na) were well on their way to becoming one of hip-hop’s greatest and most powerful acts of all time, ranking alongside names such as Public Enemy and N.W.A. with socially-conscious lyrics and smooth beats paired with smart sampling. But in 2004, Cut Chemist left the group to pursue a solo career, and in 2007 Jurassic 5 completely called it quits after nearly 15 years of music. And that was it for the crew until 2013. After almost seven years apart (nine for Cut Chemist), Jurassic 5 reunited and re-emerged stronger than ever before with a new flair, seasoned attitude, and more vibrant energy at Coachella Music Festival, the group’s first show with the original six members since Cut Chemist split. During their performance, Jurassic 5 gave fans a memorable concert revisiting all the classic feel-good tracks […]

    The post Jurassic 5 holds onto what’s golden appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks

    Dogs of Detroit have new territory to trot: Yesterday, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy held a soft opening for a 20-acre westward extension of the Riverwalk. Part of a planned two-mile track of the West Riverwalk, the new span runs from the Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks Boulevard, says Mark Pasco, director of communications for the conservancy. “It’s going to be great,” Pasco says. “It’s a wide open green space. It’s going to be great for activities.” The endgame for the Riverwalk, Pasco notes, is to extend the walkway from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park, just past the MacArthur Bridge — about a 5.5. mile route. The new westward expansion is wider than most of the walkway, about 30 feet, says Pasco — a decision made by the conservancy to accommodate fisherman that previously frequented the area. “We knew … once it opened up they’d want to fish there again, so we made the Riverwalk itself wider,” Pasco says. The conservancy will hold a grand opening in late September, which will include “food and music and activities,” Pasco says, though no official date has been set.

    The post Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

Saving Detroit

Drastic measures are necessary right now

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Detroit, contrary to what some think who never come here, is anything but dead. Last Saturday we went down to Eastern Market for lunch and found that, even in the blustery cold, there was an hour wait to get into Vivio's, and a line even longer for the Russell Street Deli. So we fled to the funky Bucharest Grill, close to the Fox Theatre, near where rumors say a new hockey palace may go up.

Even there, with not much going on, we had to wait briefly to be seated. Though the Bucharest is known for shawarma, I had an absolutely first-rate hamburger and was happy as an old crank can be.

Except when I walked back to the car, and studied all the ruined and deserted and abandoned buildings. In a way, it felt like what eating in Berlin in 1946 must have felt like, with one exception.

Their war was over. The war for the future of Detroit is still raging on, and it is clear that city government as it now stands can't be part of the solution. It has failed and is failing in every way.

Nor can the city, as things now stand, possibly succeed.

There is no money. Detroit has lost so many cops it cannot even guarantee a minimum of public safety to the neighborhoods. The firefighters don't even have soap or toilet paper in their firehouses.

And while it still isn't clear whether Detroit can balance its budget, it is clear that the city will never be able to do anything about the billions and billions in unfunded liabilities hanging out there.

Detroit, as things now stand, cannot go on much longer. 

This is highlighted by the sheer clownish incompetence of the characters on City Council, from the strutting and preening Charles Pugh, the one-time TV anchor who can't pay his bills, on.

Mayor Dave Bing may not be as dynamic or as decisive a leader as the city needs. But it's not clear that anyone could work with this council. There are, to be sure, a few sane members — Gary Brown and Ken Cockrel Jr. But the rest seem caught up either in sheer inability to understand what's going on, or some stubborn, outdated and pigheaded racial idea that Detroit has to be protected from those white folks who secretly want to come back and take it away.

So they vote no on everything, like screaming 2-year-olds having temper tantrums. The state wants to pour money into crumbling Belle Isle, make it a state park? Absolutely not.

Reform the Department of Water and Sewerage? Hell, no. Sign a contract with a law firm that the state says is necessary before Lansing gives Detroit any more cash. NO MAMA NOOOO! What about selling some vacant land to developer John Hantz, so he can put a lovely tree farm on the dilapidated east side? They won't even make a decision.

In a small way, their total failure to behave as adults may be a blessing. It should make it that much easier for the Legislature to pass a new Emergency Manager Law as quickly as possible.

True, voters narrowly rejected the old one, and the lawmakers should take note of that. But emergency measures are needed.

Then, Gov. Rick Snyder should give up on a consent agreement that has plainly failed, and appoint someone with the ability and power to try to make Detroit work. That will be anything but easy.

Ideally, there would be a two-stage process. First, the no-longer-realistic contracts, the inefficient procedures and the bad debts have to be gotten out of the way. Plans have to be executed — fast — to restore some standard of public safety.

Procedures have to be put in place so that if someone like Hantz has a plan to improve the city, some rational authority will be able to make a reasonable ruling in a timely fashion.

Meanwhile, our relentless positive-action governor needs to be thinking of how to make Detroit work in the long term. Eventually merging Detroit and Wayne County would make all kinds of sense.

Actually, a tri-county authority ought to be immediately empowered to handle transportation — a unified bus service — and perhaps other functions. What matters is making things work.

Now, there's bound to be lots of opposition. Many politicians in Detroit will say any form of state action — other than to give them money to spend as they please — is outrageous.

They say this just proves that "they" want to take the city away. But I have news for them: Detroit politicians don't own Detroit.

We all do. The state of Michigan does. Cities, under our state constitution, are creatures of the state.

The Legislature can break up any city as a governmental unit, require it to merge with other cities, create new cities, anything our statewide lawmakers think is appropriate.

But at the same time, everyone who lives in Michigan has a responsibility to and a vested interest in fixing Detroit.

Thousands of businessmen, most of them white, got rich here, and then took their money and their businesses and skedaddled for the suburbs. They have a responsibility to Detroit as well. We all do.

Mike Duggan, they tell me, is convinced he can save Detroit if he is elected mayor. Frankly, I don't think he can and I don't think he can get elected, but it's now almost irrelevant who our next mayor is.

What matters is that we make this a city worth living in and one worth being mayor of, whatever that takes.

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