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  • 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.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editor twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday evening. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May 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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