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  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through BuildingDetroit.com, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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After class

A guide to your college town's indie shops and services

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Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor, otherwise known as "The Arb." It's a DIY mind-refresher course.

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WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY

Avalon International Breads 422 W. Willis St., Detroit; 313-832-0008; avalonbreads.net: A regular winner of MT's Best of Detroit poll, Avalon's loaves are regularly featured at restaurants far beyond the Cass Corridor location. But there's more than bread, including sandwiches, brioches, scones, excellent coffee and more. The atmosphere is conducive to chilling or conversation (or eavedropping!), and in good weather things spill out onto the sidewalk on Willis.

Be Nice Yoga 4100 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-544-9787; yogaindetroit.com: A brand-new boutique yoga studio located above Detroit Community Acupuncture and Peoples Records.

Big Book Store 5911 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-8511: A browser's bookstore, featuring an eclectic array of mostly older books — as well as a smoldering-hot selection of old cheesecake mags.

Bob's Classic Kicks 4717 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-7513; 4717woodward.blogspot.com: Opened in 2004, Bob's is more than just a sneaker shop hawking Reeboks and Adidases. You can also get custom sneakers tailored to taste. They've also been known to host hip-hop battles, adding to the cachet. Open noon-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Bottom Line Coffee Shop 4474 Third St., Detroit; 313-638-2759; tblcoffeehouse.com: A new addition to the university area's java scene, featuring local bakery products and coffees from around the world.

Bronx Bar 4476 Second Ave., Detroit; 313-832-8464: This former old-man bar now has a young clientele, two jukeboxes and some of the best sandwiches in town.

Byblos Cafe and Grill 87 W. Palmer St.; 313-831-4420; 4830 Cass Ave.; 313-292-5678; 4830 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-292-5678; bybloscafeandgrill.com: Where Wayne State students enjoy a huge menu and bargain prices.

Cass Café 4620 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1400; casscafe.com: Part eatery, part bar, part art gallery, Cass Café is a lofty, open space adorned with the works of local artists. Featuring live music, spoken word and other weekly events, Cass also sports a rich menu. From calamari steaks to the classic lentil burger, food is unique and healthy, complemented by a nice selection of Motor City brews.

Circa 1890 Saloon 5474 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1122: This local tavern offers excellent pizzas, including their unusual Greek pizza.

City Bird 460 W. Canfield St., Detroit; 313-831-9146; ilovecitybird.com: For years, brother-and-sister team Andy and Emily Linn marketed Detroit-themed odds and ends online under the City Bird name. In 2009, they opened this eclectic shop, which sells locally made goods and various objects imprinted with the street grid of our fair city.

Curl Up & Dye 4215 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-833-5006; curlupanddyedetroit.com: This full-service salon serves coffee, tea and water, proffering free condoms. Hours change seasonally.

Detroit Artists Market 4719 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-8540; detroitartistsmarket.org: Located in the heart of Detroit's cultural corridor, the Detroit Artists Market is a vibrant and eclectic exhibitor of way-out and conventional works.

Flo Boutique 404 W. Willis St., Detroit; 313-831-4901; flowingflava.com: Billed as a "lifestyle clothing boutique for women and men" this shop is along the same strip as Goodwell's and Avalon.

Good Girls Go to Paris Crêpes 15 E. Kirby St. (entrance on Woodward Avenue), Detroit; 313-664-0490 goodgirlsgotopariscrepes.com: Opened by former French teacher Torya Blanchard, this little Parisian-style shop serves up dozens of different crêpes, fresh salads and fair trade coffee. 

Goodwell's Natural Foods 418 W. Willis St., Detroit; 313-831-2130: One side is a deli, with soups, sandwiches, salads, fresh juices and smoothies and more. The other side is a grocery, selling fresh, organic produce, spices, herbs, dried beans, cereals and grains. The health-oriented store also carries medicines and vitamins. Open for six years now, it's still going strong.

Great Lakes Coffee Roasting 3965 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-831-9627; greatlakescoffee.com: This well-known local roastery recently opened this fair trade coffee bar. Seating more than 80, it also has a wine bar and an outdoor covered patio. Open 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

Harmonie Garden 4704 Third St.; 313-638-2345: Diners can expect low prices and huge servings, as well as top-notch falafel, all courtesy of Wayne State grad and owner Taher Jaber, and just a stone's throw from Wayne State University.

Honest John's Bar and No Grill 488 Selden St.; 313-832-5646: Cheap eats and drinks, including local microbrews; a great jukebox and loyal regulars.

The Hub 3611 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-879-5073; thehubofdetroit.org: Is the Hub a community service center or a bike shop? It's both actually. With a few years under its pedals, the Hub is a well-oiled machine that provides bikes, service and workshops for all in the community. As Detroit continues its trek toward two-wheel fanaticism, a stop at the Hub might indeed be in order. Remember to buy a lock — or two.

Lefty's Lounge 5440 Cass Ave.; 313-831-5338; leftysloungedetroit.com; $$: Primarily a watering hole, though one with many first-rate dishes, Lefty's can attract a bevy of sportos to watch the big game.

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