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  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race

    If a poll released this week is any indication of how the August 5 primary election will turn out, current Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano has reason to worry, Fox 2 reports. Ficano, who’s seeking a third term, polled in fourth place — behind former Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans, Westland Mayor Bill Wild and Wayne County Commissioner Phil Cavanaugh, according to Fox 2. The poll by Strategic Solutions LLC, showed 6.7 percent of respondents said they’d vote for Ficano, which isn’t so bad: He finished ahead of County Commissioner Kevin McNamara (who came in at No. 6) and someone literally described as “a candidate not named here” (who polled at No. 5.) If you’re planning to head to the polls — which you should! — and need some input on the candidates and ballot proposals, you can read for our election coverage in this week’s Metro Times.

    The post Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • A Mad Decent Mixtape

    Mad Decent Block Party will roll through town on Saturday, August 16, bringing to town artists like Dillon Francis, Diplo, Flosstradamus, RiFF RAFF, Keys N Krates, and Zeds Dead. Thugli, a Canadian duo, will perform on the Toronto leg of the tour and they put together a 45 minute mix that features songs by some of the tour’s featured artists as well as a host of others.  Listen to it here. 

    The post A Mad Decent Mixtape appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders

    Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host a special event this Saturday, July 26 in hopes of raising money for the local faction of an international nonprofit, Burners without Borders Detroit. Breaking Borders is a one-evening-only event that will feature live music, performance, and art. Satori Circus will perform along with spoken word artist ZakAndWhatArmy. Music by Tartanic, Dixon’s Violin, and Servitor. Fire dancers, hoop performers, and acrobats will provide a certain mysticism to the ambiance as old Victorian steampunk and tribal art is shown in the main gallery. There will also be a runway fashion show and the evening will end with a dubstep rave featuring DJ Forcefeed and Dotty. Truly, there’s something for everyone. Perhaps more importantly, there will be a full service bar. The event is open to those 18 and older and IDs will be checked at the door. Admission is $25 at the door, or $20 with the donation of a canned good. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the party goes until 2 a.m. A 20 percent commission will be taken from all art sold at this event and donated to Burners without Borders. The Tangent Gallery is located at 715 Milwaukee Ave., Detroit; 313-873-2955; tangentgallery.com.

    The post Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project

    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 […]

    The post 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

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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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