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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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College Guide 2011

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Cool spaces in local places

Wayne State University

Urban renewal

The Willis Street Strip: Avalon International Breads, Goodwell's Natural Foods, Flo Boutique, Spiral Collective, Re:View Contemporary Gallery Willis between Cass & Second avenues, Detroit: A couple of the freshest food spots in the D are sandwiched between a hip fashion boutique and two gallant galleries. Yes, the Willis Street Strip is indeed one of the funkiest few hundred feet in the city. You gotta get down to get up, kids. Cass Avenue won't bite, unless you want it to.

A cut above 

Curl Up & Dye 4215 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-833-5006; curlupanddyedetroit.com: You never know who you're going to run into at Curl Up & Dye, as this quaint yet punk full-service salon has become not only the most popular place to get a cut for Detroit's city-lovin' movers and shakers, but an accidental ground for networking too. They serve coffee, tea and water to your liking. Come for the free condoms — stay for the haircut. Hours change seasonally.

Mais oui

Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes 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 50 types of crêpes, fresh salads and fair-trade coffee. Tastes range from the savory "Vera," stuffed with bacon, spinach and Boursin cheese, to the more traditionally sweet, such as the "Libby," which comes with peaches, cream cheese and a generous bit of brown sugar. Cost for this quality won't break student bank accounts either, as prices range from $4.50 to $8.50, and the coffee is good and very reasonable. Having been featured in the likes of The New York Times, Good Girls is no hidden gem, so midtowners should be in the know. If you haven't been but want to impress that cute girl (or guy) who wants to go to the midnight showing of Eraserhead, just punch 15 E. Kirby St. into your GPS and act like you've been going for years.

Midtown melange

Cass Café 4620 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1400; casscafe.com: Voted the "Best Bar to Take Friends from New York" by MT readers, this establishment is a Detroit staple. Part eatery, part bar, part art gallery, Cass Café is a lofty, open space adorned with the works of local artists. This is the spot for Warriors to get their culture on. 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. The Nut Brown Ale and Ghettoblaster beers are especially tasty, and well worth $4 a glass.

Artisanal appetites

Traffic Jam & Snug 511 W. Canfield St., Detroit; 313-831-9470; trafficjamdetroit.com: "Just like monks in ancient times, we utilize the same equipment for beer and cheese making." So reads the brewery page of the clean and welcoming Traffic Jam & Snug. At Canfield Street and Second Avenue, it's right off campus, painstakingly serving up plates ol'-school style. Low country crab cakes, deep-fried pickle spears and cheese platters with strawberries and fig or hazelnut compote ... just a few appetizers. The menu at Traffic Jam is diverse, full of homey dishes layered with exotic flavors. Catering to big meat eaters, vegetarians, drinkers, local flavor seekers, this place serves up inimitable three-courses and brews in-house. Grand Theft Pilsner genuinely satisfies, a soft Czech hop flavor, and at 7 percent, Bouvier Blanche packs a punch.

Get your kicks

Bob's Classic Kicks 4717 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-7513; 4717woodward.blogspot.com: Opened in 2004, BCK has proven a premier destination for sneaker-heads. Wayne Staters have been loyal and the store has grown, churning out Reebok, Adidas and the like, along with local brands and gnarly custom jobs. This Midtown shop also holds hip-hop shows and battle of the bands, showcasing rising emcees with the occasional local legend sighting.

Local fixture(s)

Bureau of Urban Living 460 W. Canfield St., Detroit; 313-833-9336; bureauliving.com: Located on the ground floor of the Canfield Lofts in midtown Detroit, Bureau of Urban Living calls itself a "modern-day urban general store." Wayne State students and staff looking to garnish a new dorm room or apartment will find stylish decorations ranging from Detroit-themed knickknacks to modern housewares. Bureau of Urban Living is the perfect place for anyone trying to avoid a Target-decorated dwelling.

See, be seen

Union Street 4145 Woodward Ave. Detroit; 313-831-3965; unionstreetdetroit.com: Union Street has been a favorite spot for Wayne State students and staff for years, but the bar and restaurant prides itself on being more than just a hot college spot. Union Street serves as a melting pot for Detroit social circles, attracting hip urbanites and suburban theater patrons alike. The bar offers 100 different bottled beers from around the world and prides itself on a collection of quality, affordable wines.

Fresh options

Wednesday Farmers' Market Cass Avenue north of Warren Avenue, in front of Prentis Hall: Eating right is tough in college, but the Wayne State Farmers Market brings fresh, locally grown produce to the Wayne State community every Wednesday. Vendors at the market range from urban gardeners to southeastern Michigan farmers, but all merchants raise crops with a special focus on sustainability, making the market popular among the environmentally conscious. The market is also perfect for the college budget: In addition to low prices, the market accepts the Michigan Bridge Card. Runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 26.

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