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    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;

    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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Detroit cycling round-up

You can forget the Motor City — Detroit has plenty to offer the cycling enthusiast.

Photo: Photo by Erika Fulk., License: N/A

Photo by Erika Fulk.

The International Velodrome at Bloomer Park.

Spring is here, and that means it’s time to push those pedals. Fortunately, despite the whole car thing, Detroit has plenty to offer the cycling enthusiast. Here’s a roundup of places to bike, places to be, and some shops to take a look at. 


Places to Bike

Dorais Velodrome
Mound Road and Outer Drive

This 250-meter concrete velodrome — built by noted Michigan cyclist Mike Walden in the ’60s — was in rough shape when Detroit’s vigilante Mower Gang stumbled upon it a few years ago. After some excavation work, the velodrome is now open for cyclists. Years of illegal car racing have wreaked havoc on the track, but intrepid cyclists are free to give the rough course a ride. The park also hosts a Mad Max-themed Thunderdrome motorbike racing event once a year in the fall. 

International Velodrome at Bloomer Park
345 John R Rd., Rochester Hills; 248-656-4753;

For a more, shall we say, structured velodrome outing, Bloomer Park in the suburbs is the place to go. The track’s in much better shape than Dorais, your bike needs to meet specifications to be allowed on the track, you have to wear a helmet, and there’s an entrance fee (though your first time is free) — but the track is the only one of its kind in North America. The velodrome opened for the season last Saturday.

Dequindre Cut
Between Orleans and St. Aubin streets, from Gratiot Avenue to Atwater Street;

Opened in 2009 in what used to be a sub-surface Grand Trunk Railroad line, the Dequindre Cut Greenway is a 1.35-mile long strip with separate lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists and has plenty of room for everyone along the 20-foot-wide paved pathway. Street art murals decorate the remainder of the concrete overpass — the Cut is a scenic route where rural meets urban.

Kensington Park
2240 W. Buno Rd., Milford; 248-685-1561;

The numerous beautiful trails that stretch out from Kensington Park always draw visitors, thanks to the paved, 8.5-mile path lined with hills, inclines, and miles of panoramic views surrounding picturesque Kent Lake. 



Slow Roll
Various locations;

Like its name implies, this is a low-key weekly bike ride that draws a few hundred people for a scenic view of the city. Typically, a group meets at a different place (like Eastern Market or the Old Shillelagh — check the online schedule), heads around to a few neighborhoods, then concludes the evening over drinks and food. 

Critical Mass
Corner of Trumbull and Warren;

The Detroit chapter of this international group meets up at 6:30 p.m. on the last Friday of every month. While the original Critical Mass was a protest against city streets that are unfriendly to bicyclists, today the group is merely concerned with getting a bunch of people together to ride around Detroit. Sounds like a good cause to us.

Tour de Troit
Various locations;

This cycling nonprofit based in Detroit is known for its large seasonal bicycling events. Tour De Troit’s main mission is to get people to see the historical sites in the city while raising awareness of biking as a mode of transportation. They get city dwellers out of the gloom and into the sun — to top it all off, proceeds from the events go toward building better non-motorized infrastructure in the city of Detroit for cyclists on the road.

Wheelhouse Detroit guided tours
1340 Atwater St., Detroit; 313-656-2453;

These guided tours offer a specific look from a different angle of the city — the site currently has a schedule for tours structured around different themes showcasing architecture, Motown, street art, and more. Each tour has a fee, ranging from $20-$45 depending on if you need to rent a bike or not. 

Michigan Bicycle Racing Association
Various locations;

No leisurely bike tour, the MBRA is Michigan’s official branch for U.S. competitive cycling. The MBRA boasts over 1,600 members who compete for points, fame, and in some races, cash prizes. This is the real deal. The group’s races are certainly accessible to newcomers — new cyclists who are up to the challenge must pay the entrance fee (offered annually or per day) and make sure they have a bike that meets the group’s specifications. Various races are planned through the summer, so check their website for more information.

Criterium Detroit City 2014
Belle Isle (tentative);

Though details aren’t firm yet, a criterium (a shorter race) is planned for Belle Isle this summer. The event started in 2011 but has been absent from the local cycling scene for the past couple of years. 

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