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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 / 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

Wrong to recall?

Why efforts to boot Snyder may be pointless and counterprodcive

Thousands of citizens outraged by the Snyder administration's policies are now talking recall. In fact, a group has been formed that's making a serious attempt to do just that. Michigan Citizens United got petition language approved last week. They have a website,, and are taking donations and mobilizing for action. Their motto is that of the famous 18th century philosopher Edmund Burke:

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing," which is certainly true ...

Yet not the whole truth. There is an equally big truth, which every band of successful guerrilla warriors in the world has learned: Pick your battles. Yes, glorious defeats have sometimes inspired men and women to fight another day.

But all too often, losing has exactly the opposite effect. Illusions crushed, the disillusioned and dispirited melt away, turn off and drop out. That's what largely happened to the left wing in the 1960s and 1970s. The Kennedys were killed and Martin Luther King was killed and the cops smashed the protesters' heads at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in the summer of 1968.

Then Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were elected, and boatloads of people went off to communes. When Nixon and Agnew fell, the best anyone could do was Jimmy Carter, whose most radical counterculture thought was turning down the heat and wearing a sweater.

After him came Ronald Reagan and the Bushes, interrupted only by Bill Clinton, who once described himself as an "Eisenhower Republican." I mention all this history for a reason.

We've got lots of people hot to oust Snyder, and everything I know about practical matters tells me they are going to waste a lot of energy and impale themselves on the sharp stakes of the process. Here's why: Just getting a state constitutional amendment on Michigan's ballot this year would take 322,609 valid signatures.

This number fluctuates a little, from election to election. But in practice, it is always very hard to achieve. Most who try fall short unless they have lots of corporate or special interest money behind them, and can pay people $1 a scrawl to collect signatures.

The rule of thumb is that a quarter of all signatures are always invalid. People sign twice or don't know what county they live in or aren't really registered to vote, so you have to turn in at least 25 percent more than the amount really needed to get on the ballot.

When Jack Kevorkian was riding high, he and his supporters tried to get an amendment on the ballot; he told me he thought he could get enough in a few days. They never came close.

And recalling a governor is much, much harder. Michigan Citizens United can't legally start collecting signatures till July 1. Then, they have to collect 807,000 valid signatures by Oct. 1 — well more than twice the number needed for a constitutional amendment. Practically speaking, they'd need more.

Many, many more. Citizens United estimates they'd have to collect 1.1 million signatures. According to their website, as I write these lines on May 1, the group now has $5,695 in the bank.

They would need a $1.5 million, at a minimum, to have a prayer. By the way, even if they succeeded, a recall election couldn't be called till next year. Legally, they now can hold a vote only at the next regularly scheduled election, and no sooner than 95 days after the recall petitions are filed. That means February 2012.

Plus, if they succeeded, Jesus would not become governor. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley would take over. You might want to read up on his voting record before you pull that ripcord, comrades.

Incidentally, getting a recall on the ballot does not automatically mean it will be successful. Some anti-tax fanatics did collect enough signatures to get a recall on the ballot for former Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, back in 2008.

Guess what. Voters said no. By the way, the state doesn't pay for a recall election. Every already-cash-strapped city and county and township has to bear the costs in their area.

(You don't have to take my word for any of this; look online, or call the Michigan Secretary of State elections division: 517-373-2540.)

Last week, after I said here and elsewhere that I was opposed to a recall, I was savagely attacked by a number of people, including one Regina Bruner Markowicz of Macomb County, who wrote to me that "your thinking is no longer impartial ... you are led by opinion rather than facts. You will soon become irrelevant ... our family cast its vote, and it is anti-Jack Lessenberry. You are not (any) longer our friend."

Well, hey, my dog Ashley still likes me, at least when he wants to play ball. However, I have just presented a whole lot of facts above.

But at the risk of being hated even more by the Family Markowicz, I would still be opposed to a recall even if I thought one could be achieved. (Full disclosure: I did not vote for Rick Snyder.)

I strongly oppose his cuts to education at all levels — though there are a lot of good proposals in his education policy itself.

I think ending the Earned Income Tax Credit (or EITC) for the working poor is not only socially and morally terrible, it is foolish, and will cost us all more in the long run. I also think ending tax credits for the film industry is a mistake.

Yet the voters of the state of Michigan elected Snyder by a landslide. During the campaign he said he was against the film tax credit and said he would give big tax breaks to business. He also said he was against raising the income tax to compensate. Did we really think he was going to balance the budget by finding a platinum mine under the governor's office?

Everyone should have seen this coming. However, there's another huge piece of this that everyone is missing. There is another, easier way to stop these policies. Contrary to popular opinion, Rick Snyder cannot pass laws all by himself. Matter of fact, he can't pass them at all. The Legislature has to approve any laws.

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