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  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Banner year

Virginia Spencer lived to see 106 birthdays, a milestone that didn't go unnoticed

Photo: Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Photo: Detroitblogger John

Dorothy Ziegler (left) and Betty Seay with a photo of Mama.

The family hung the banner again this year, but this time it was different.

When Virginia Spencer's relatives started doing it six years ago, it was to celebrate the noteworthy milestone of the family matriarch's century on earth.

They strung it along the second-floor iron balcony of their east side duplex, announcing to the drivers heading downtown on East Warren that Mama, as everyone called her, had made it to her 100th birthday.

That first year, Mama wasn't happy about it. "She said, 'I don't like the idea very well,' but anyway we put it up and everybody thought it was just grand," says Dorothy Ziegler, Spencer's 78-year-old daughter.

A "Happy Birthday" banner went up every summer after that for another six years, each one noting how old she was, each one signaling a further triumph over age, illness and time. This April though, Spencer was admitted to the emergency room and never discharged, and she passed away in a hospital bed, several miles from home, in an unfamiliar room.

"She just went on away in peace," says Betty Seay, the 54-year-old neighbor who wound up being Spencer's caregiver in her final years. "It was like she was just sleeping. She had on her powder blue and stuff. She was just peaceful."

As the family gathered to mourn Spencer's death, a cousin came up with the idea of one more banner, to let all of Mama's friends and well-wishers know that there wouldn't be another birthday celebration this summer. When the printer they'd used heard she died, he came to work on Sunday, his day off, just to make the final banner for the family.

It read, "Thank you for 106 years Granny. We will miss you."

Once it was strung up a few days after her death, friends and neighbors and strangers saw it and came by to offer their condolences. A truck from the nearby fire station pulled up and blared its siren, and the firemen, who knew Mama from taking her to the hospital over the years, got out to pay their respects.

Something about the banner drew people to her in her last years. "People would come from all over and they'd be talking about the banner," Ziegler explains, "and my cousin said, 'It's only fair to put something up, let the people know, 'cause they have been looking for it every year. You owe that to them.'"

The banner
became somewhat of a local cultural phenomenon over the years. People from the east side and the west side, people from the Grosse Pointes, people from as far away as Flint would make the journey to see if the banner made it up another year, thus showing that Mama had cheated the odds once again. Neighbors would stop by on her birthday with presents, passers-by would pull up and take pictures of the house, strangers would knock on the door and introduce themselves.

"You would be surprised," Ziegler says. "They would come by and say, 'We had to get our courage up to come up,' and I said, 'Oh you're welcome,' and my mother would talk to them." They'd bring birthday cards and food platters, and bring their little children into the house to meet her, to show that there is hope of having more time than most people are granted.

She got congratulatory letters and plaques from Detroit mayors, from council members, from the governor herself one year.

Word spread. Ziegler once went to an appointment with her doctor, and when the receptionist heard she was from the east side, she told Ziegler that she should check out this one house on the corner of East Warren and Holcomb, where a banner hangs to celebrate the city's reportedly oldest grandmother.

"She said, 'Ms. Ziegler, you should see it. It is awesome.' And she said, 'Every year I look for it. People far and near know about it.' And I said, 'That's my mother!'"

Virginia Spencer
was born in 1904 in Seneca, S.C., made stops in Atlanta and Washington D.C., and wound up in Detroit in the mid-'60s. She was working at a dry cleaner at 14 years old when the fingers on her right hand got caught in a machine used to press sheets, and the bones were crushed.

Some hack doctor wrapped the fingers too tight — it was the Deep South after all, and a little black girl's injuries likely didn't merit much care — and when the bandages came off the fingers and the hand had become infected. Her arm had to be amputated up to the elbow.

Still, she learned how to drive, how to wring out a wet quilt, how to change diapers with one hand, because she refused to wear an artificial arm. She eventually got herself a truck that she used to collect bundles of paper and stacks of old cardboard and sell them for pennies to eke out a living.

"She refused any welfare help," Ziegler says. "Mama was a very independent woman and there were times I wish she was on the welfare. Everybody else was on the welfare around us, but I understood, and she ingrained into us that dignity."

A couple of years ago she'd developed dementia and lost nearly all her sight, and grew irritable. But even after she turned 100 she'd bake cornbread for the family, or barbecue pork chops on a grill out back, or pass the time watching Jerry Springer, her favorite show.

"My son and her would be up here, and she'd say, 'Eric, it's time for Jerry,'" Ziegler says. When Eric died of the flu a couple of years ago, Spencer used her fading mind as an excuse to tune out the world, her family believes.

"That took a lot out of her, but she kept it in," Ziegler says of her son's death. "I thought maybe she didn't understand he was dead, but I found out she did because she would talk about him to Betty when I wasn't around, but she said very little about him when I was there."

Spencer and Seay the caretaker grew very fond of each other in their time together. "The night before she passed she said, 'Betty take me home.' I thought she was talking about here home, but she was really letting us know that she was ready to go," Seay remembers. "I think she knew then, 'cause she was just nice and peaceful."

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