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    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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College Guide 2011

Choose three

You really can have sleep, a social life and good grades

Are you a social pariah? Suffering from shitty grades? Frequently spotted staggering around campus like a sleepless zombie? Well don't feel too worthless if you answered yes to any of these — the college life trifecta is considered unattainable by many. Even if it's too late to save me, I've learned some lessons that may help you achieve a fuller and richer college experience.

To begin, let's talk about that classic collegiate fallback known as the "cram session." With years of firsthand procrastination experience under my collegiate belt, I have three words about cramming: Don't do it. Though it's as common as split ends, what most students don't talk about is the misery waiting at the other side of a 24-hour Adderall and energy-drink binge. If it's not specifically prescribed for you, the Adderall pains are a no-brainer. And while energy drinks do provide a short burst of energy while studying, the outrageous amount of caffeine and sugar in them will only make you feel even more tired later on.

I cannot tell you how many times I've stumbled into an exam, bleary-eyed and bitchy beyond what really should be considered legal, only to find some overeager classmate in a sweaty panic, worrying that the last 10 consecutive days of studying hadn't prepared them sufficiently. In the end, guess which one of us was more likely to blank out after receiving the exam?

Procrastination is the enemy; it is a butcher of good grades and all-important sleep. With the constant thrum of social activities on campus, the excitement can easily lead students to stray from their studies. Next to setting a schedule, one of my secret weapons for overcoming procrastination disorder is SelfControl. This app is the bomb, though only available for Macs. It blocks access to websites you choose — thinking Facebook, Gmail, Tumblr — for a set period of time while allowing access to the rest of the Web.

Another trick involves incentives for getting work done early. If you do, reward yourself with a feast of the most ass-fattening delicacies you can find. Tell yourself if you get your studying out of the way the Friday before a big exam that you can attend every ABC-, Rubik's cube-, white trash- or toga-themed party you want that weekend — or whatever floats your boat.

You probably already know whether you are a morning lark or a night owl. By timing study periods to coincide with your natural circadian rhythm, you can boost your performance. If you haven't found that rhythm, experiment with the time of day you study. Also, learn your study style — are you best in absolute silence, with Deadmau5 blasting, or with a group of classmates at Starbucks? You should shape where and when you study around these factors.

Another simple suggestion is getting to know your professors. I'm not telling you to be a brown-noser. All I'm saying is, communication with your professor is key. A professor who knows you by name will unquestionably trust you more, and this could come in handy in a variety of situations.

When it comes to maintaining a blossoming social calendar, force yourself to make a schedule for each upcoming week, even if you aren't a big planner. Track your academic progress in tandem with the social events you wish to attend, and reward yourself when you have completed all the studying you'd planned at the end of each week. After all, it is easiest to stick with a plan when you can actually see that it's working.

If you're having trouble balancing your social life in particular, consider joining a social or sports club at your school. These are advantageous because they plan out all social events for you, and you don't even have to lift a finger.

My final word on achieving this collegiate trifecta is to be realistic. Don't get me wrong — studying is hard! It involves intense concentration, dedication of time, and the motivation to succeed. Sometimes you'll underestimate the amount of time you need to complete your work. So take a deep breath, don't get frustrated, and factor in some extra time to allow flexibility in your schedule. Or if you've read this whole thing and you're still against my instructions for collegiate bliss, you still always have the option to flip the equation and go to those parties now, cram for the next two days, and return to the land of the undead.

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