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    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 […]

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  • 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.

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Candy land

An old-fashioned shop tries to evoke a simpler time

Photo: , License: N/A

Pastor Betty Jordan at the appropriately named Miracle Soda Shoppe.

There aren't many bright colors left in this part of town. There's the green in the grassy fields along the main road. The gray of the streets. And the shades of brown on the wood houses whose paint has weathered away.

But in the midst of it all is this little place that beams with a rainbow's worth of sugary hues.

The Miracle Soda Shoppe, on Van Dyke near Nevada on the east side, stands out because it's so different from everything around it. It's quaint and old-fashioned and wholesome, surrounded by a rough, declining neighborhood.

Betty Jordan's store strives to be a classic soda shop — except for not having an actual soda fountain. But the essence of soda shops was always more than pop and ice cream. They conjure a comparatively innocent, simpler time. And Jordan believed this east side neighborhood, where she lived for decades, could use a dose of innocence.

This place is as much a functioning candy store as it is a tribute to a lost way of life. Step inside the door and walk to the old-fashioned candy counter, and hop onto one of the round stools. Take in the thousands of wrapped little treats in yellows and reds and greens, and the penny candies coated with crystals of sugar, and the sour pickles in a jar. Order a hot dog or a soft pretzel, or a slice of sweet potato pie made using an old Arkansas recipe. Admire the antique wall ads for Cracker Jack and Coca-Cola and Hershey's, and the kitsch that evokes another world.

Some things here aren't so nostalgic, though, like the magazine article explaining the history of Amos 'n' Andy taped to the wall, like the large photo of sharecroppers picking cotton in the Deep South way back when. And at the front of the store stand two life-size cardboard cutouts of Barack and Michelle Obama, presiding over this display of history, a touchstone to the present showing how far things have come since portrayals like Amos 'n' Andy. 

The iron bars on the door to the backroom and the bulletproof glass dividing the front counter serve as a reminder of other ways things have changed too.

The artifacts aren't just for the adults who remember them. They're also for the children who have no sense of their meaning and nowhere else to hang out in this neighborhood of liquor stores and overgrown parks. When Jordan has children in the shop, waiting for candy, she figures it's a chance to share with them something other than what life out here exposes them to. 

"I try to educate them on things they never heard of or ever dreamed of," she says.

Jordan doesn't even like candy. "I just wanted to sell it," the 63-year-old says. "I liked picking it out and looking at it and seeing what it could do. That's just me. That's what I liked."

She grew up in Arkansas, moved to Michigan, got married, and opened a successful tire business with her husband. But years there took a toll. She saw men get hurt, become crippled, even watched a man die on the job once. 

"The guy had a Cadillac. His name was Eddie Lee," she says. "Eddie Lee jacked the car up but he didn't lock the jack. And the guy was just carrying on a casual conversation with another man, and he put his foot on the jack and the car fell down on Eddie Lee and killed him right there. My husband picked that whole car up and dragged that boy from up under there, but he was dead."

Add to that the sight of workers getting their fingers sliced off by wayward tire rims, and she'd had enough.

"After seeing all that and all that noise I went back, I said, 'I'm going to go into candy.' I started preparing for this a long time ago."

She left the tire shop, became pastor of a little church, and found that the space she'd bought for her ministry was better suited for her lifelong dream of an old-fashioned store like the ones she saw as a little girl. She opened in 1999, closed after a fire, and reopened seven years ago.

No matter how genteel her shop's theme is, in a neighborhood like this there's little doubt about what kind of customers she's going to draw.

"I'm going to be honest. I made my money off of drug dealers," she admits. "And they love sweets. Drug dealers love sweets. I'm not too familiar why. It's just like a child. They love sweets, they love candy and stuff like that."

She doesn't open the shop until afternoon because few people in the area are out of bed before that, she says. "These people in this neighborhood, they get up maybe 12 or 1 o'clock. They're not early people. A lot of them don't work." 

That doesn't bother her. What does is that children out here grow up immersed in this life. 

One kid, whose father was a drug dealer, saw Jordan's daughter balancing a checkbook one day. He asked what she was doing. She explained she was depositing paychecks and balancing her checkbook. "Just like your daddy," she told him. The boy replied that his dad didn't work. That prompted Jordan to have a talk with the father. "I told him, 'You should tell your son you work. Even though you're selling drugs, you should tell him you work.'"

That kid already knew what was up, though. The boy's name was Henry, named after his dad, who went by the street name Hank, the same name the dad had been trying to bestow on the son. So when Jordan called the child Hank, he recoiled. "Pastor, I don't want to be called that." He didn't want to be identified with his father. 

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