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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 new 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 new 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

True colors in Lansing

Amid crisis, our legislators still want to stick it to gays and the environment

Want to know what Republicans are really like — at least, the mean-spirited variety that inhabit our Legislature? They revealed their true colors in glistening slimy iridescence last week, while voting massive cuts for education.

Not, that is, just by cutting education, though that is appalling enough. The official mantra of the Snyder administration is that it doesn't really want to cut education, but it is necessary to give business as big a tax break as possible.

That, they say, will really help education in the long run, because slashing business taxes will bring new industry and jobs pouring in. The newly employed workers will pay state income taxes. As a result, state coffers will soon swell with cash. Which means Michigan will be able to devote more support to education than ever before! This is called the "rising tide lifts all boats" theory, and was last energetically believed in by some college Republicans for Reagan back in 1980, many of whom had never yet had a date. Most of them later grew up.

However, Rick Snyder still appears to believe this with the fervor of a new convert in the coming resurrection. More on this theology later, but first, back to the Legislature.

Cutting education was not enough for the lawmakers; they also made a clumsy attempt to punish gays. The instigator was, once again, the state's worst legislator, the malevolently dense David Agema, a recycled airline pilot from the west side of the state. The Granville Republican offered an amendment to further cut by 5 percent the funding of any university that offers domestic partner benefits. First, he pretended this was "a cost factor." However, it didn't take him long to reveal his true colors: This was about Agema's crackbrained idea of morality. "It provides an extremely bad example to our youth," he said, according to the Gongwer News Service.

Yes, allowing some unmarried wretch to collect state-paid benefits violates Divebomber Dave's interpretation of the Michigan Constitution, which, as he noted, says that "religion and morality ... are necessary to good government."

Ironically, what the constitution really says appears to argue against cutting schools at all: "Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education will forever be encouraged."

Some fellow legislator with intelligence and integrity ought to have read that into the record — and then noted that so-called domestic partner benefits are not limited to gays. Full personal disclosure; I've added my female partner to my benefits at Wayne. This isn't free; it costs us more than $600 a month.

Not only is this benefit not only for gays, it isn't limited to those in romantic relationships. As I read the rules covering "other eligible persons," I could have added my mommy instead, if I owned, say, a house with her, and if she didn't have the bad taste to be dead.

But beyond that, some lawmaker also ought to have noted that if you are looking for someone guilty of immorally wasting state money, you need look no further than Dave Agema. Four years ago, he was nowhere to be found during an intense state budget debate: He was off hunting wild sheep in Siberia, continuing to collect his state salary and health care benefits while in full dereliction of duty.

They eventually threw this bozo off the House Appropriations Committee for missing more votes than anyone in either chamber. Yet the voters have kept re-electing him.

Now for the shocking part: Every Legislature has idiots who are mostly ignored. Except that in this case, a majority went along with Agema. The amendment punishing the universities was added to the education budget and then adopted by the full House. Democrats unanimously voted against it, and six Republicans too.

But they have large legislative majorities — and most of them are religious and right-wing ideologues. They don't stop at trying to regulate sexual morality either. Over in the Senate, they voted to try to prevent Rick Snyder himself from helping the environment.

That's right. They did it, they claimed, "to help the business climate." They voted to forbid the state from issuing guidelines more protective of the environment than those issued by the federal government. State Sen. Mike Kowall, (R-White Lake Township) pretended that this was so the Legislature could protect nature.

This was, of course, bullshit. Rick Snyder is thought to be the most environmentally friendly governor since Bill Milliken in the 1970s. It was Milliken, in fact, who helped save Lake Erie by banning phosphate-laden detergents when the Legislature refused to act.

If the House goes along with the Senate, no governor could take action like that again. The business interests who own so many of these legislators fear Snyder, too, might put life ahead of profits. So if you thought the current crop of Republican lawmakers lacks a malevolent social agenda, welcome to the real world. The question now, however: What is Rick Snyder?

Last summer, thousands of independents and Democrats crossed over to vote for Snyder in the Republican primary, enabling him to win. Many did so because they thought he was an intelligent, pragmatic, non-ideological reformer.

By then it was clear to the savvy that whomever the GOP nominated was likely to be our next governor. Snyder seemed much better than the other options, most of them tools of various anti-abortion or hard-right economic groups.

Turns out Snyder does seem to be a true believer in the ideology of Laffer curve economics. However, he has not — so far — sold out on the social issues. To his credit, he's brushed aside attempts to limit stem cell research.

But what about these two nasty, mean-spirited legislative moves? Will he sign an education budget that penalizes universities for allowing people like me to cover people whom they love?

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