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  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race

    If a poll released this week is any indication of how the August 5 primary election will turn out, current Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano has reason to worry, Fox 2 reports. Ficano, who’s seeking a third term, polled in fourth place — behind former Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans, Westland Mayor Bill Wild and Wayne County Commissioner Phil Cavanaugh, according to Fox 2. The poll by Strategic Solutions LLC, showed 6.7 percent of respondents said they’d vote for Ficano, which isn’t so bad: He finished ahead of County Commissioner Kevin McNamara (who came in at No. 6) and someone literally described as “a candidate not named here” (who polled at No. 5.) If you’re planning to head to the polls — which you should! — and need some input on the candidates and ballot proposals, you can read for our election coverage in this week’s Metro Times.

    The post Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • A Mad Decent Mixtape

    Mad Decent Block Party will roll through town on Saturday, August 16, bringing to town artists like Dillon Francis, Diplo, Flosstradamus, RiFF RAFF, Keys N Krates, and Zeds Dead. Thugli, a Canadian duo, will perform on the Toronto leg of the tour and they put together a 45 minute mix that features songs by some of the tour’s featured artists as well as a host of others.  Listen to it here. 

    The post A Mad Decent Mixtape appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders

    Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host a special event this Saturday, July 26 in hopes of raising money for the local faction of an international nonprofit, Burners without Borders Detroit. Breaking Borders is a one-evening-only event that will feature live music, performance, and art. Satori Circus will perform along with spoken word artist ZakAndWhatArmy. Music by Tartanic, Dixon’s Violin, and Servitor. Fire dancers, hoop performers, and acrobats will provide a certain mysticism to the ambiance as old Victorian steampunk and tribal art is shown in the main gallery. There will also be a runway fashion show and the evening will end with a dubstep rave featuring DJ Forcefeed and Dotty. Truly, there’s something for everyone. Perhaps more importantly, there will be a full service bar. The event is open to those 18 and older and IDs will be checked at the door. Admission is $25 at the door, or $20 with the donation of a canned good. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the party goes until 2 a.m. A 20 percent commission will be taken from all art sold at this event and donated to Burners without Borders. The Tangent Gallery is located at 715 Milwaukee Ave., Detroit; 313-873-2955;

    The post Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



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Stir It Up

Waiting for Terry Jones

Reporting from Dearborn, our columnist has another run-in with Mulenga Harangua

It was easy to find the Islamic Center of America when I turned off the Southfield Freeway service drive onto Ford Road at about 4:30 p.m. last Friday. Twenty or more police cars with lights flashing served as my GPS in the gray, rainy afternoon. Police cars blocked access to the area and officers directed traffic onto the side streets.

I pulled into the parking lot of the Los Amigos restaurant and walked past the St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church to get to the mosque. The ICA is flanked by three Christian churches. I don't know about the spiritual energy around there, but it is apparently not exclusive.

I was there to see what Terry Jones, the Quran-burning Florida minister, would do in his planned protest in front of the Islamic Center. Right before I got out of the car, I heard a radio report that he was in court and a jury was deliberating on whether he would be allowed to carry out his mission. Jones had said that he would come, permit or not, so I joined the gathering of police and news reporters shivering in the cold near the front of the mosque. There were a handful of onlookers out on the berm off Ford Road.

A guy from the mosque asked for my press credential. I had none. He told me I either had to go inside or stand with the group out near Ford Road. I went inside where it was warmer and drier. On entering the building I was given a Quran and read a few lines as I walked the hallway past small groups of people mostly chatting quietly near the windows.

I began questioning folks, but the first few I approached didn't want to talk so I stopped. I overheard one man say, "If he is a pastor and he's coming in peace, why does he bring his gun?"

Indeed, Jones' .40-caliber handgun went off in his car the evening before, after leaving the FOX 2 television studios. He wouldn't be the first person to come to Detroit with his gun loaded and ready to go. On the other hand, I felt that if Gandhi came to town, he would not be armed. But then the Rev. Jones is no Gandhi.

The crowd had surged to some 40 or 50 people outside, so I headed back into the rain. As I approached the group, a guy in an oversized poncho and hood approached me. I jumped when he grabbed my arm.

"Relax, don't be getting paranoid on me," said Mulenga Harangua, my conspiracy theory-loving friend.

"Mulenga, what are you doing here?"

"I want to hear what Jones has to say. I'm not for the guy or against him. I don't want him to burn a Quran, but if he does, I want to see that."

"Even if he's trying to incite a riot?"

Mulenga looked dismissively at the soggy crowd. "That crazy bunch of rioters there? Let's go talk to them."

He grabbed my arm again and dragged me over to a guy carrying a sign that read: "I will debate you anytime, anywhere." Mulenga shoved my hand with the tape recorder in the guy's face.

"Sir, why do you want to debate Terry Jones?" I asked.

"I believe that our community has not given him clear answers. ... " said Haithan Kayed of Dearborn. "Jones is anti-sharia in America. We, as Muslims, don't want sharia in America. We want it in our homelands. God is a part of our legislative process. In this country there is a lot of fear among Muslims, and there are certain things that they shy away from saying. Islam is a complete way of life and ... an alternative to capitalism. That is one of the things they shy away from saying because it's one of these things that could label them radical or extremist. They are ill-equipped in presenting it in a clear and precise manner."

A guy walking past on the road yelled something like "Muslim radicals" at the crowd, which surged toward him. Police quickly escorted him away while a big guy from the crowd exhorted his compatriots. "Everybody say nothing. Let them say what they want to say. They want us to get arrested. Nobody touch anybody. Words don't hurt."

Those were certainly words of wisdom — especially if Jones actually showed up at the scene. I looked around. Mulenga was approaching an elderly white-haired couple. The man had a Bible tucked under his arm. I ran over to them.

"Why are you here, sir?" I asked.

"I want to support Terry Jones," said Rev. Lanny Raper.

"What about him do you support?"

"I want to support the protest and what he is supporting as far as freedom in America and the right to be able to protest and stand up for what you believe in."

"And what is he protesting?"

"Well, he is protesting the right, his freedom, the Fifth Amendment."

"He's protesting his freedom?"

"I'm supporting it. I think if they have the right to believe what they do. Basically I believe that America was founded as a Christian nation. One nation, under God, indivisible, and I still believe it. My dad he fought in World War II and my brother was in the Vietnam War. So I very much believe that America is a Christian nation."

"How does fighting in World War II and in the Vietnam War mean that America is a Christian nation?"

The woman with him spoke up. "It's not the war. It's the reality of the freedoms that we have."

About 7:30 p.m. word came that Jones was being held. Police told the crowd, which had peaked at about 100 people, to leave. Mulenga asked me for a ride home. As we walked back to my car we mulled over the issues.

"I wish he had come," said Mulenga. "I really wanted to know what he was talking about."

"He seemed to want to protest sharia in Dearborn."

"But Jones doesn't live in Dearborn. Aren't these conservative guys always talking about the supremacy of local law? Why should he be concerned about local law in Dearborn when he is from Florida? Why is he trying to tell us what to do?"

"I'm not sure," I said. "Maybe he wants to keep the rest of us from drifting into sharia. You start with halal meat and next thing all the women have to wear burqas."

"Hey, you're starting to sound like me. But that didn't happen with the Catholics."


"Fish on Friday. There are all kind of places that serve fish on Friday because of the Catholics. And my niece goes to West Bloomfield High School. They get Jewish holidays off, and the cafeteria serves matzo pizza. I don't hear anybody protesting against that. Or thinking it leads to some kind of takeover."

"Well you've got a point there. Let me buy you dinner. I used their parking lot; I should spend a little money. I hear this place has great chile rellenos."

"Oh, man, don't get me started about the Mexicans and their food."

I shot him a questioning look.

"Well they already took over California and Texas."

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