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  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Cover Story

Bruce Campbell - the man, the myth, the chin

Chronicling the rise of hometown hero

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


What is it about Bruce Campbell that makes him such a compelling actor? When he makes an appearance in a movie or TV show, it’s impossible to turn away and yet — let’s be absolutely fair and clear — when the lists of the great actors in history are made, Campbell isn’t going to be up there with the likes of Jeremy Irons and Daniel Day Lewis. He certainly has an “ingredient X,” an attractive quality and old-school cool. The man may have limited ability, yet he has mastered the art of milking every last bit of it.

So, again, what makes him so damned watchable? Is it that distinctive and admittedly impressive square chin? Perhaps, in part. Is it the fact that people of a certain age remember his performances as Ash in the Evil Dead movies with nostalgic glee and all else from then on is forgiven? That has a lot to do with it. But the truth is, sometimes hammy is fun and, because everyone around metro Detroit knows that Campbell is one of our own, there’s a feeling that we’re watching an old friend doing well every time we see Campbell on such TV shows as Burn Notice and Xena: Warrior Princess, or a movie like Sky High, even if we’ve never met him. It’s kind of like watching a relative doing community theater, just on a bigger scale. Appropriately enough, that’s where Campbell’s story begins.

Bruce Campbell’s dad was a member of the St. Dunstan’s Theatre Guild in Cranbrook, and it was while watching his father tread the boards that young Campbell caught the bug. “He joined because he was in the ad business but he felt that he wanted more of a creative outlet,” says Campbell, on the phone from L.A. “I think I saw him in a play around 1966 when I was about 8. I think it was Brigadoon. He was singing, dancing and acting goofy, and people were applauding. I was like, ‘What the hell is this?’ It left a big impression. Then I got older and during the summer they’d do plays outdoors in a beautiful Greek theater that they had there. They’d need kids for extras, so I got in my first play in my formative years when I was about 12. You had to be 18 to join, so I joined when I was 18. Then I could do what they called the ‘indoor shows’, which was where the real theater was going on. Outdoor shows were like The King and I, South Pacific, the classic musicals. With the indoor shows, you could do drama, and they had some farces that were really fun. It was a great proving ground, and my dad opened that world to me.”

Campbell, a warm and funny but no-nonsense man in conversation, was raised in Royal Oak, a city that he says bears little resemblance now to the one in which he spent his early years. “Oh, c’mon, in my day when I was there living near the railroad tracks, you got flat-top haircuts there,” he says. “This was not hip. Nothing was happening. You went to the Main Theatre, which is still there I guess. But there was nothing going on in Royal Oak. But it’s nice to see the town that you spent a lot of time in get better and better instead of worse and worse. Even fashionable Ferndale, when we had our offices there at Nine Mile and Woodward, I won’t call it a shithole but there was nothing fancy about it. Now Ferndale is getting all hipster on us. That’s better than watching it go down the toilet like a lot of our small towns.”

The story at that point was one that has been told a thousand times; the disenchanted and bored kid gets to high school and meets some other disenchanted and bored kids who have a similar interest in cinema, acting and making movies. In Campbell’s case, the first person he met was Josh Becker and the two would go on to make a short film called Oedipus Rex.

“My buddy Josh Becker, who I still work with [Becker is best known for his work on shows like Xena and B-movies with names like Harpies], was doing some Regular 8 movies (not even Super 8) for school, and we had both been in a school play in about 8th grade, The Lottery,” Campbell says. “He grew a beard by then so he got the adult role — he stole the adult role from me. I always hold that over him. He was making this movie and he knew I was an actor so he said, ‘Hey, can you get a toga?’ I said yeah, so I impressed him with my professionalism early on. I played King Creon. This was really like cutting to a title card with what everyone says. It was pretty primitive.”

Perhaps Campbell’s most significant school-time meeting came in the 8th grade, even if it didn’t stick right away. “Sam Raimi I saw in 8th grade dressed as Sherlock Holmes, sitting on the floor of our junior high school playing with dolls,” he says. “That was my first introduction. I specifically remember going way around him in the hallway, thinking, ‘This guy’s a first class weirdo.’ I never really met him in 8thgrade, I met him properly in 10th grade, during a radio speech class. We started performing announcements together, and we had a radio show that we would do. I found out that he was sort of doing little movies in his neighborhood, I was doing little movies in my neighborhood, and one other guy at Segal was doing movies in his neighborhood. High school is when all of the junior highs collide, so a bunch of us met and started to combine equipment, ideas, stories and just manpower. It became quite a little industry. We did about 50 of these movies that are all tucked away somewhere in various stages. But there were some really good little bits that came out of them that worked better than some of the movies, when we finally got to remake stuff into an actual movie. That was our proving ground: in high school. That was where we got everything started.”

The idea that there is a closet full of Raimi-Campbell collaborations locked away somewhere is mouthwatering, to say the least. The pair graduated in 1976, and in 1979 they made a short movie called Within the Woods, the seed of a much bigger idea. “Within the Woods was a Super 8 movie, and by then we were very good at making Super 8 movies. We had good cameras, the projectors were better, as was the sound. Within the Woods was what we used to raise money for The Evil Dead. We would show it to investors. It was a half hour movie, and we wanted to show people we could make something scary and effective. There wasn’t much in the way of sales tools. We were very skeptical to give them any kind of numbers of how well the movie would do, because we didn’t know. We used a visual tool to show them that we thought we knew what we were doing.”

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