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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 […]

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

  • Passalacqua debut dark new 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 new 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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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


Just a few movies into his career, Campbell certainly didn’t leave town because he was getting harassed by local super-fans. “I’d go into a comic book store and some guy would say, ‘Man, you look like Bruce Campbell’s brother,’” he says. “They couldn’t put it together. The first Evil Dead had more success overseas, Crimewave nobody saw. Evil Dead 2, by the time we left, that movie did OK but it wasn’t a wide release. It was unrated, so it bicycled around the country in different markets. It wasn’t a national release. The only way people recognize you is when you get your butt on television. You come into their living rooms every single week. Movies are different. So I had pretty good anonymity.”

Before Campbell would step back onto an Evil Dead set to fight deadites once again in Army of Darkness, he would enter a whole other horror franchise with a loyal fanbase — Maniac Cop. “That was fine,” Campbell says. “I was interested because I had heard of Bill Lustig and he had done movies like Vigilante [Lustig also directed the classic slasher flick Maniac]. He was a good, solid genre director. He called me to ask if I wanted to be in the movie, and it was my first non-Sam Raimi movie. It wound up doing well, so they did another one and I only make it five minutes into the second one.”

Another project featuring Campbell during this period is gloriously entitled Lunatics: A Love Story. “That was a fun little experience,” he says. “It was just before Army of Darkness. It was only made for a couple of hundred thousand dollars, so we had complete control over it. Structurally, it’s one of the best screenplays I’ve ever worked on. I’ve never seen a screenplay to equal that amount of consistent themes and structure, and storytelling. I would use that script to teach a class.”

And then came Army of Darkness — the third and, until this year, final Evil Dead movie — in which Ash finds himself in medieval times, facing all manner of witches and creatures. This one saw the horror toned down and the comedy boosted up, though there is still enough blood to satisfy the most ravenous gore hound. “It only made as much as the budget,” Campbell says. “It cost $13 million and I think it made $13 million. Now it’s on American Movie Classics with Ben-Hur. There are 14 different versions on DVD and it plays all the time everywhere. People think it was a hit movie, but it was absolutely not. The first was a hit, the second we were in the process before we even started making the movie, and the third one failed. That’s the other thing too. There was a lot of pressure to make another Evil Dead, but if you follow that formula, the first movie was $350,000, the second was $3.5 million, the third was $13 million, the fourth one will be $100 million, and the third didn’t make money. In our mind, there wasn’t a big call from the industry to make another. There was from the fans, but not from the box office.”

Thanks to a résumé that includes the likes of Evil Dead, Maniac Cop and, yes, Crimewave, it’s not surprising that people tag Campbell a “cult hero”. The man himself doesn’t mind that at all. “You can’t stop it,” he says. “Even if I wasn’t comfortable, there’d be nothing I could do about it. I just embrace it. I didn’t come up with it. I just see myself as a working actor. I’ve stopped worrying about what people are into. At one time, I wondered why people only wanted to talk about the Evil Dead movies, but if that person’s a horror fan, they wouldn’t have seen much of my other work. They might have seen Bubba Ho-Tep. But I’m actually more stereotyped by my fans than I am within the industry. I did Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, G-rated movies. I’ve been in a French film, and I’ve done a lot of weird stuff. But if that’s not what you’re into, the horror movie lover will really only know me for that. They’re not going to watch Burn Notice, or all these other things. I’ve stopped worrying about it. The Evil Dead fans are fabulous though. I have a collection on my phone of like 130 photographs of Evil Dead-type tattoos. It’s a great collection. It’s a slow-growing weed. None of this happened overnight. There was no Taco Bell tie-in type advertising. This was all pretty much word of mouth, DVDs. Anchor Bay is the company in Michigan that sublicenses Army of Darkness, and they were the first ones to say, ‘Fans want more.’ They want behind-the-scenes footage, they want ‘the making of,’ they want deleted scenes, they want to see storyboards and interviews. It’s DVD companies like Anchor Bay that really got people interested again and they revisited the thing. The remake is the only worldwide release we ever had. We never thought about releasing any of this nationally. Army of Darkness was the closest we got. I’m excited to see what something like this can do when you release it all at the same time.”

The mid- to late ’90s saw Campbell get more mainstream work, including, importantly, recurring roles on major TV shows. He played the detestable Bill Church Jr. on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Ed Billik on Ellen, and Autolycus on both Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. More recently, he has starred as Sam Axe on the hit show Burn Notice. “That’s just what you want to do,” he says. “You want to get out there and get at it, get going. TV is the most active thing because you really get to hone your character over a long period of time. With a feature, you really want to throw out the first couple of weeks of shooting because usually you don’t know what the hell’s going on, what your character is and how something’s supposed to play. With TV you have literally years to hone it. The writers start to learn what you’re good at and they write more of that. They learn what you suck at and they write less of that. You can start forming relationships with directors, writers and producers. It can be a very family-like experience. With Burn Notice, we’re on our seventh season coming up in March and I’ll be back down to Miami. After that’s over, it’ll be seven seasons and 100-something episodes of that show, and I won’t see most of those people ever again, that’s the crazy thing. Some I will, but most I won’t.”

In 2002, Campbell re-entered the world of cult cinema thanks to the frankly incredible Bubba Ho-Tep, which tells the story of an Egyptian mummy terrorizing a bunch of old people in a retirement home. Campbell plays a man who believes he’s Elvis Presley, while the late Ossie Davis played a man (a black man, no less) who believes he’s JFK. Whether they are who they think they are is open to interpretation. Somehow, the movie isn’t at all ludicrous, despite that premise. “It was one of the weirdest scripts I’d ever read, but I found it oddly touching because it’s ultimately a story about two old guys in a rest home and what becomes of old people,” Campbell says. “There are weird, underlying themes with that and — oh, yeah — there’s also a mummy. … I’ve seen a lot of movies like Bubba Ho-Tep that are trying to be funny, and Bubba succeeds because everyone is dead serious in that movie. That’s why it works. If it was too campy, then it’d be like Transylvania6-5000 or something, where it’s a wacky story with wacky characters. I think because of Joe Lansdale’s tone, the way he wrote it, he made it seem like it was really happening, and that’s what saved it. Don Coscarelli deserves props too for being a very stubborn independent filmmaker. Ossie Davis was great as JFK. I think it was one of his last roles. He was 83 when he did it.”

Campbellhas also found success in kid’s cinema, thanks to parts in such movies as Sky High, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Love Bug and The Ant Bully. The man relishes the opportunities. “I enjoy doing it, only because it’s just another thing that’s completely different,” he says. “Any actor would like to come in and play a goofy character where anyone can watch it. When an actor starts doing kids’ movies, that’s when they had children. The same thing changes in their brain. Ten years ago, they’ll say “I wouldn’t do some stupid kids’ movie.’ Ten years later, they’ve got a little 3-year-old kid and they say, ‘I should do more kids’ movies.’ I don’t look for them; it’s just another weird opportunity that comes up. I talk to a lot of fans, and some of them didn’t get along with their parents, but the one thing they had in common with their dad was Evil Dead. I’m glad to help families all across the world.”

April will see the release of a whole new Evil Dead movie, a remake reunites the original production team (including Campbell and Raimi), though it’s directed by first-timer Fede Alvarez. Fans have been understandably petrified, though not for the right reasons. Some classic horror franchises — from A Nightmare on Elm Street to Friday the 13th — have been subjected to painfully inept and lazy remakes. The Evil Dead is hallowed ground (so to speak), and fans won’t stand for a similarly bad reinterpretation. Campbell isn’t worried. “I fucking love the new movie,” he says. “I’m impressed as hell with it. I saw an early version when I was working on Burn Notice in Miami, and I just got on the phone and said, ‘Guys, I think we dodged a bullet on this one.’ Fede Alvarez is going to be a very busy young man. He just brought a really neat sensibility to the movie, and it’s stylish without being masturbatory. It’s not stylish for the sake of being stylish, it tells you this weird story that’s unfolding. I think he did a great job, and the score is just over-the-top. Roque Baños is the guy that did it, and it’s fantastic. If you have a good score, your movie’s halfway there. We’re big lovers of sound, so I just spent a month with Fede mixing this movie word by word, line by line. I think it’s going to have some serious impact. We’ve seen it several times with an audience. I cannot wait for South by Southwest. There are certain screenings I would never miss, and that will be one of them. Austin is a fabulous horror city. There are more tattooed freaks in that city than just about anywhere. It’s perfect. I want to see the first Evil Dead tattoo from the new movie. I’ll sign that one special.”

Judging by the intense red band trailer that has been doing the rounds online, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic and even excited about this movie. The intensity has been kicked up a notch, but the elements that made the originals so great are present, from chainsaw self-mutilation to living trees to the creepy girl in the basement. “Fede took little bits from all of [the original movies],” Campbell says. “You’ll find some little homages that are good for the DVD commentary. We pulled some original sounds from the original movies, because we had a bunch of our sounds remastered and redigitized. We throw a few of those zingers in there to remind people that we’re still thinking about them. I’m one of the producers of this movie and I have to promote it, but I can either want to promote it or not want to. This one, I’m good promoting it because I think the general fans are very sensitive. They’re very vocal and sure in their opinion, which is fabulous. We’ve done everything we can to not piss them off. That’s why I’m excited: I think we’ve succeeded in not pissing them off, and I think we succeeded beyond that in that I think they’ll actually get excited about it. When Evil Dead fans get excited, they will embrace it. It’s just about trying to encourage them to get past their fears. Don’t worry about it; we’re all involved. This is not some no-name, cigar-chomping producer who randomly bought the rights to this series. This is us. This is the movie that got me into the film business, so I’m not gonna fuck around with it. We’re gonna make sure this thing is everything that we think we need it to be. I’m excited because they moved it up a week, it’s now April 5. They’re trying to position us well and give us a good opening launch. I think we’re between GI Joe and Oblivion. Bring it.”

Probably wisely, Alvarez and the guys decided not to bring back the character of Ash in the new movie, saving fans the genuine horror of watching somebody else try to fill Campbell’s boots. “Bringing Ash back was always off the table, because Sam wanted to be able to do more movies with the original partners,” says Campbell. “That’s why he was eliminated, to keep this world open to two sets of movies. Our ideal world would be to have the original movies, and then three of the new ones. … I didn’t want some other schmo playing Ash; you don’t want to put some weird pressure on them, like, ‘Well he sort of did it but he didn’t really do it. He didn’t look like him.’ You can go all day with that crap, so why bother? We did all-new kids, familiar evil book, creepy cabin — the elements are the same. The beauty is, we wanted to make a version where you can’t see the green garden hose spewing the fake blood. We wanted to be able to bring the same sense of horror and fantastical things happening in a more realistic way. Fede brings a really interesting sensibility to this. He actually brings a very mature sensibility. We were so relieved when we first saw the first cut of this movie. Like, ‘Oh, thank God, this guy gets it.’ It’s only 90 minutes. The original was 87 minutes. It’s a short, crazy ride, which is what it should be.”

The release of the remake is still a couple of months away. This weekend, however, Campbell will be at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, in his old home town, for An Evening with Bruce Campbell. “Expect the unexpected,” he says. “It’s not like a Charlie Sheen thing where I’m going to be on stage trying to entertain you. This is going to be a very active Q&A, then I’ll be introducing a screening of Army of Darkness. I won’t be sitting down and telling fascinating stories. It’ll be more interacting with fans in that venue.”

After that, Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful hits the big screen on March 8. As one would expect from a Raimi movie (see Spider-man), Campbell has a small part to play. “I’m in it, although with these big movies you never know what’s going to happen,” he says. “I have a pivotal role, let’s say that. If I was not in this movie, certain things would not transpire. That’s all I have to say.”

Between his live performances, Oz and the Evil Dead, plus the return of Burn Notice in June, Campbell is a busy man, but he wouldn’t want it any other way. Still, no matter what character Campbell portrays and no matter how much success he has elsewhere, he will always be firmly linked to the Evil Dead in the minds of many. It’s his cross to bear, but, to his credit, he embraces the fact and his excitement towards the remake is genuine. “It’s been 22 years since anyone’s ever set foot on an Evil Dead set, so that’s a full generation,” he says. “It’s time to let people have it with the power that modern-day film making can bring. Better sound, better images, better focus, better actors — we’ve got better everything in this movie. I’m jealous. I’m extremely involved, but still jealous.”

Don’t worry, Bruce. No one could ever replace you.

 

Bruce Campbell appears at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-399-2980.

 

Brett Callwood is a staff writer at Metro Times. Send comments to bcallwood@metrotimes.com.

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