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  • 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 […]

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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 / gettyimages.com 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.

    The post Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Culture Feature

All-star oddballs

Brawling, clowning, kicking high and spacing out — here’s a look at 10 offbeat Tigers worth remembering

Photo: Desiree Kelly, License: N/A

Desiree Kelly

Ty Cobb

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Desiree Kelly

Norm Cash

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Desiree Kelly

Mark Firdych

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Desiree Kelly

Gates Bown

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Desiree Kelly

Dave Rozema

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Desiree Kelly

Canny McLain

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Desiree Kelly

Billy Martin


But, as Wilson rightly notes, Fidrych was “no mere sideshow.”

That ’76 season was a truly magical one. Although he didn’t get his first start until mid-May, he went on to win 19 games. He won the American League Rookie of the Year Award, and finished second in voting for the Cy Young Award.

Unfortunately for the Bird and the fans that adored him, things were never really the same again after that first season. His slide toward oblivion began with a torn knee cartilage suffered while kidding around in the outfield during spring training in 1977. Then, after his return to the field, Fidrych suffered a shoulder injury while pitching against the Orioles on July 4. It wasn’t until years later that he learned he had torn a rotator cuff.

By 1980, just four years after bursting on the scene in a blaze of glory, his baseball career was over.

The end to his life came in 2009, when he was working on a dump truck at his farm in Massachusetts. His clothes got tangled up in a rotating shaft and he suffocated. He was 54.

 

Dave Rozema

Born in Grand Rapids, 6-foot, 4-inch “Rosey” joined the Tigers as a pitcher in 1977, and had a tremendous rookie year. It started with his first major league win being a shutout against the Boston Red Sox. By season’s end, he was 15-7, taking fourth in the 1977 Rookie of the Year award. A four-year lull followed, with Rozema winning no more than nine games a season. By the start of the ’82 season, though, he was back in form, winning his first three starts.

Then came May 14, 1982.

The Tigers were locked in an unusually confrontational contest with the Minnesota Twins. In the second inning, Twins manager Billy Gardner was ejected for disputing a call. In the third, the Twins’ first base coach was also tossed for arguing too intensely. Maybe those vibes had spread among the players, because, in the fourth inning, when Twins starter Pete Redfern beaned batter Chet Lemon, both teams rushed the field. A brief brawl ensued, mostly between Kirk Gibson and a Twins’ pitching coach, but it was over almost as soon as it started. The umps halted play for 20 minutes to sort things out, and, when it was over, Redfern left the game injured (his right foot had been spiked) and Lemon was ejected.

Tied up at 2-2, the game went into extra innings, and tensions were clearly running high. Dave Rozema took the mound and held the Twins scoreless through the top of the 11th inning. The Tigers turned the tide in the bottom of the 11th, putting men on base and getting in position to take the game. Then the Twins’ Ron Davis threw a brushback pitch that was too high and tight for Tiger third baseman Enos Cabell, who responded with “threatening gestures” at the pitcher. The ump tried to restrain him, but Cabell rushed the pitcher, who met him halfway as the benches cleared again and what can only be described as mayhem ensued. For almost 10 minutes, the players tackled, wrestled and pummeled each other on the infield. At one point, the umps had almost halted the violence when Minnesota’s Jesus Vega started punching again, earning licks from Gibson and Richie “The Gravedigger” Hebner (for more on Hebner, see below).

Much of this chaos is now forgotten, but against its bloody background shines one legendary moment, when the gallant Rozema leaped into the fray. Literally. Flying through the air with a karate kick.

The video of this moment cannot be found online — at least for long, before it’s ordered removed. Someone who did view it described Rozema flying in from the left hand side of the screen with a karate kick, aiming for Twins player John Castino.

Castino was not hurt by the kick, but Rozema shredded his knee, tearing eight ligaments, and was carried off the field in a stretcher. The season-ending injury would derail his career.

At least in the stats, the game was a win for the Michigander. When order was restored and the game resumed, Gibson socked a homer that clinched the game for the Tigers, 4-2.

 

William James

“Gates” Brown

What’s odd about Brown’s career is how it began: Serving time at the Ohio State Reformatory for robbery. The story goes that Brown was encouraged by a guard to join the prison’s ball team, and the coach, impressed by his skill with a bat, contacted several big league clubs. The Tigers sent some scouts to watch him play and, based on their evaluation, the team helped him get an early parole and signed him to a contract. Although other teams also expressed interest, he said he signed with Detroit “because they didn’t have any black players and eventually I figured they would, plus, I had been told about the short right porch at Tiger Stadium.”

In his first trip to the plate as a major leaguer he hit a home run.

Brown went on to have an impressive 13-year career, giving an especially big boost to the team during its 1968 season, when it won the World Series. As a pinch hitter that season, he had a batting average of .450. (He helped the team win another championship as a batting coach in 1984.)

Brown did have one truly oddball moment as a player. It came in ’68, when the manager called the slugger in to pinch-hit just as he was getting ready to chow down on a few hotdogs the clubhouse kid had brought him. So he stuffed the dogs in his shirt, grabbed a bat and stepped to the plate. Bill Dow, a metro-area attorney and lifelong baseball fan who has written often about the Tigers of yore, dug up Brown’s account of what happened next and posted it to the detroitathletic.com website:

“I always wanted to get a hit every time I went to the plate. But this was one time I didn’t want to get a hit. I’ll be damned if I didn’t smack one in the gap and I had to slide into second — head first, no less. I was safe with a double. But when I stood up, I had mustard and ketchup and smashed hot dogs and buns all over me.

“The fielders took one look at me, turned their backs and damned near busted a gut laughing at me. My teammates in the dugout went crazy.”

Asked by his manager why he was eating during a game in the first place, Brown decided to point out the obvious.

“I said, ‘I was hungry.’ Besides, where else can you eat a hot dog and have the best seat in the house.”

 

Jim Walewander

When you think about the music of baseball, it sure has changed. It used to be limited to the repertoire of the ballpark organist, who’d play the swelling buildup to “Charge!” or the melody of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” But prerecorded music has taken over in a big way. Back in the 1980s, when the closest you’d get to punk rock might be a few bars of Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll” coming over the P.A., there was a quiet, clean-cut 21-year-old Tiger who helped change all that.

You’d have hardly guessed it when Chicago-born James Walewander joined the Tigers in 1983. But Walewander was listening to some pretty out-there music back then, especially considering that, before punk broke into the mainstream in the 1990s, it was the stuff of threatening episodes of Quincy and CHiPs. Back during the Reagan administration, you wouldn’t even hear even, say, the Ramones on mainstream radio.

And so it was considered quite odd indeed when, in 1987, the world learned that Walewander was a big fan of Philly-based punk band the Dead Milkmen, who performed such sharp and satirical songs as “Bitchin’ Camaro” and “Instant Club Hit (You’ll Dance to Anything).” Walewander invited the band to Tiger Stadium, where they met both him and manager Sparky Anderson, as well as getting to see Walewander hit his only major-league home run.

Now that’s music to our ears.

 

Denny McLain

The last time a major league pitcher won at least 30 games in a season was 1968. The man who did it was ace right-hander Denny McLain, who won the American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards during that championship season. He won the Cy Young again the following year, and was also named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.

In addition to his dominance on the mound, McLain also played a mean organ, releasing two albums on Capitol Records.

But there was a darker side to the hurler. His 2007 autobiography, I Told You I Wasn’t Perfect, is a cautionary tale described this way on amazon.com:

“From being the only 30-game winner in more than 70 years to having the Gambino crime family order a hit for your murder, Denny McLain has surely seen it all: RICO charges from the U.S. government to touring the country as a popular musician playing on national TV and the Las Vegas strip before becoming a close jail-house friend to John Gotti Jr. … By 1972, he was a retired star, hustling games of golf. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s he was in and out of prison for charges including racketeering, loan-sharking, extortion, cocaine possession and fraud before being included in wide-sweeping RICO charges that tried to connect him to Gotti and the violent underworld of the mafia.”

He blamed his downfall on his “desire for excitement and attention.”

 

Germany Schaefer

We’re not even sure if there were ballpark mascots back in 1905, when “Herman the German” Schaefer joined the Tigers roster. But any team featuring this baseball clown had a morale boost right there. See, Schaefer had a vaudevillian streak — he even had a routine he’d perform with Tiger teammate Charley O’Leary — and often use his gags as a sneaky way to psych out umpires and opposing players. His antics on the field were strange and, sometimes, unique. He is said to be the only ballplayer to have stolen first base from second, and then stolen second again. Always the trickster, he made baseball his big top, and his monkeyshines sometimes angered umps for seeming to question their judgment. Now legendary, many of his gags involved rain gear, implying that the game should be called off due to weather. In one account, he walked onto the field wearing a raincoat and was ordered to change by the umpire, after which a genuine downpour forced the official to call the game for real.

Proving that, even in baseball, a good joke can leave you laughing last.

 

Richie Hebner

Only a Tiger from 1980 to 1982, it wasn’t any ballpark antics that made folks look at Richie Hebner askance. It was his off-season activity that garnered him the fish-eye. When he’d hang up his mitt in the fall, Hebner was also known for working at the family business. You see, Hebner’s grandfather owned a graveyard in Walpole, Mass., and his father inherited it, and he and his brother Dennis worked there digging graves for 30 years. In these days of multimillion-dollar contracts, it’s unheard-of for players to work in the off-season, let alone do manual labor. But it added cachet to Hebner, who was given the nickname “The Gravedigger,” and allowed him to make such jokes as, “I’m the last guy to let you down.”

 

Michael Jackman and Curt Guyette are editors at Metro Times. Think they missed some oddballs? Let us know! Post in the comments or email letters@metrotimes.com.

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