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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 […]

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  • 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 / 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 […]

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  • 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

The new reality

Now Michigan Republicans will have no excuses - and few checks

Let's start off by pointing out some new bad news for the Democrats most may not even know about yet.

One of their very few bright spots on election night was Congressman Gary Peters' narrow victory over "Rocky" Raczkowski. Peters, who represents much of Oakland County, easily beat a Republican fossil, Joe Knollenberg, two years ago, but almost lost this time to a candidate who was neither very strong nor well-funded.

What his supporters didn't realize election night is that their victory just postponed the inevitable. Michigan will lose a House seat next year, thanks to the shifting U.S. population. Lansing will redraw districts. Republicans will control the Legislature and the governor's office. Guess whose seat they'll eliminate?

They will almost certainly throw Peters into a district he has no chance of winning in the general election, or put him in the same district as fellow Democrat Sandy Levin, meaning one or the other will have to bow out, retire or lose.

Then the Legislature will draw boundaries to ensure the GOP captures as many seats in Lansing as possible over the next decade. They'll pass it; Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will sign it.

Now, if Democrats think that plan is unfair, why, they can always appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. But ... oh wait! Republicans now have control of that too.

Welcome to our new political reality. Last week was a GOP victory at every level. Democrats lost the governor's race by a landslide, as everyone knew they would. But having said that, here's something positive about Virg Bernero: Yes, he got creamed. But he did better than the last two losing Democrats for governor, Geoffrey Fieger and Howard Wolpe. That's amazing, given they had more money and ran against John Engler, closer of mental health clinics, an uncharismatic man with negatives of his own.

This time, Rick Snyder was able to run as Our Non-Political Savior, with the entire media establishment and business community serving as his public relations apparatus. He was effectively able to be all things to all people. Bernero had little money, a not-very-focused campaign and had to stand against a huge Republican tide. Not to mention the legacy of Jennifer Granholm, who rightly or wrongly had become a symbol for everything wrong.

With all that going for him, you would have thought Snyder would have done better than the 61 and 62 percent scores Engler racked up against a respected former congressman and then Michigan's best-known and most flamboyant attorney. Yet Snyder only beat Bernero 58 to 40 percent. That's significant, for this reason: During those larger Engler landslides, Democrats weren't wiped out at lower levels the way they were last week. Back then, Democrats were elected attorney general both times. They won at least some state education board seats too, and did better in the Legislature. This time, they were wiped out. This wasn't an anti-Virg vote. It was a vote against the Democrats.

They lost every statewide office. Jocelyn Benson, who may have been the best-qualified candidate ever for secretary of state, ran far ahead of the rest of the ticket, but lost by six points. Republicans gained more seats in the Legislature than in their wildest dreams. In perhaps the most significant blow, they took back control of the Michigan Supreme Court.

What does this all mean? Nobody really knows, and we won't for some time. But we do know this: First of all, Republicans — if they are united — can now do anything they want to when it comes to running the government. Democrats won't control a damned thing. In fact, their minority in the state Senate will be so small — less than one-third of the seats — they won't even be able to prevent any bills the Republicans pass from taking immediate effect.

However, there is a silver lining in all this, for either the state of Michigan, the Democrats, or both: Republicans now, finally, have to take complete responsibility for the mess we are in.

They are going to have to balance a budget with perhaps a $2 billion deficit, and do it without stimulus money. They will either have to take the responsible step of raising revenues, or wipe out what remains of social services, badly damage higher education, and ruin our state's ability to compete. Either the state wins or the Republicans will have demonstrated themselves to be a bunch of ideological fanatics, interested in only in the rich and super-rich.

Don't be surprised if our new governor finds his hands full with a lot of newly elected Tea Party know-nothings in the Legislature. It could be that he will only be able to succeed with support from some Democrats, if the Teabaggers revolt against him.

This much is clear. The voters decisively gave power to the Republicans, in Michigan as nationwide. I happen to believe they did so because President Obama and the Democrats at all levels did a piss-poor job of explaining what they really did accomplish.

They enacted a health care plan the vast majority of Americans would enthusiastically favor — if they understood it. They saved us from a Great Depression. Locally, the president saved the auto industry, and saved our state from financial collapse. But they apparently thought virtue would bring its own reward. Instead, the constant televised lies and their own inability to communicate brought us a GOP landslide.

So now it is their turn. Democrats won fewer seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than they have in any election since 1946. But take note of two other things too: The last three times the GOP made major gains in Congress in midterm elections, the Democratic president at the time was easily re-elected two years later.

And consider the big Tea Party Republican stars, the ones who were constantly on the all-news TV channels: Christine O'Donnell. Carl Paladino. Joe Miller. Sharron Angle. Think of Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, the rich women who were going to take over California.

Every one of them lost — badly. When people really saw what they were selling, they didn't want any of it. There might be a lesson there.

Could Comrade Mark be in trouble? The Detroit Free Press had an editorial last week urging the replacement of Mark Brewer, the longtime Democratic Party state chair. That found a lot of eager support from hardworking rank-and-file Democrats like one woman I spoke to who fought hard to get out the vote Tuesday.

She, like others, is upset that the Democrats under Brewer have squandered money on silly, doomed causes like the unconstitutional "Reform Michigan Now" amendment two years ago, and managed to make a mess of the presidential primary in 2008.

They are incensed that the party did very little for Jocelyn Benson, who really could have won with proper support, but instead threw money and energy (though they deny it) on a farcical attempt to add a phony Trojan horse Tea Party to the ballot.

So does this mean Brewer will finally leave when his term expires early next year? Probably not, I'm told. He is the unions' apparatchik, and they control much of the process.

And drifting sadly downward things go.

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