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  • DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs

    In light of worldwide attention on its efforts to cut water service for thousands of Detroit residents, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department said today it would host a Water Affordability Fair on August 2nd to explain options available to those facing financial hardship. DWSD officials said in a news release today the fair will be take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the department’s Eastside Customer Service Center at 13303 E. McNichols. The move came on the heels of growing pressure from opponents of the initiative and criticism from the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing Detroit’s Chapter 9 case. “Every customer that has come to DWSD with a legitimate financial hardship has not had their water service terminated,” said Darryl Latimer, DWSD deputy director, in a statement. “In cases where the water has been shut off, it’s been restored. We keep hearing at DWSD that there are poor people who are not receiving the assistance that they need, so we want to help them and we want to make it as easy as possible for the to receive that help. That’s why we created the Water Affordability Fair – ease of access and ease of assistance. We are here to […]

    The post DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation

    The folks at Thrillist have again compiled their annual list of the nation’s best burgers, and Southeast Michigan, it seems, is well represented. Ranking alongside joints in major cities such as New York and L.A., is Detroit’s own Motz’s Burgers, hailed specifically for its Double Cheeseburger Slider. Via Thrillist: There’s nothing remarkable about the façade of this SW diner… it’s just a diner, like the hundreds of others in the D. The staff’s been there for years… and so have the regulars, who can’t get enough of Motz’s legendary smashed burgers. The formula’s nothing revolutionary: smashed, griddled patties with oozy cheese and onions that melt into the burger itself as it cooks. But it’s that unmistakable flavor of a well-seasoned griddle — which has also been here for years — that makes the difference. You can score big burgers with accoutrements, but this isn’t really a place to say things like “accoutrements”. Grab the old-school slider (the double cheeseburger one), and prepare for three perfect bites of Detroit’s finest. Flint’s Torch Bar and Grill also made the cut, most notably for its Deluxe Torch Burger with Bacon. Tucked away in an alley beyond the brick streets that used to mark […]

    The post Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know!

    The Metro Times is looking for college students or graduates of Michigan colleges that used atypical means to pay for their schooling (i.e. sugar baby, selling underwear, military enrollment purely for school help, etc.). We are looking for personal anecdotes about the lengths you went to help pay for school, what came of it, your monetary situation, if the resource worked to get you through college and more. If you have utilized any one of these avenues, or know someone who has, please drop us a line at college@metrotimes.com.

    The post In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit

    File under “WTF” — attorneys representing former Psychopathic Records publicist Andrea Pellegrini announced Monday that they have subpoenaed Kid Rock to produce a glass dildo as part of Pellegrini’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the Insane Clown Posse’s record label. Pellegrini claims the glass dildo was given to her by Psychopathic Records employee “Dirty Dan” Diamond as part of a larger culture of constant harassment in which she was called “bitch,” made the target of explicit sexual advances by Diamond and other co-workers, asked to procure automatic weapons for a photo shoot, and even encouraged to “deceive government investigators from the US Department of Labor.” On Friday, Diamond admitted under oath that he told Pellegrini that he had “a fat cock” and that he would “fuck the shit out of her.” The dildo, though, was “a work of art,” according to Diamond, and should not be considered sexual harassment. Why is Kid Rock involved? Diamond says when Pellegrini declined his dildo, he gave it to Kid Rock instead (presumably as a “work of art” and not a sexual advance). So now, according to court orders, Rock has 14 days to produce the glass dildo so the court can better determine if it is art or, well, a dildo. We will […]

    The post Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey

    Fans of the latest Superman franchise got a treat at Pig & Whiskey this weekend. Actors Henry Cavill and Amy Adams were spotted amid the crowds of the festival that took place in downtown Ferndale as well as a local restaurant. Cavill, who plays the man of steel in the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, stopped to chat with fans, take pictures, and sign autographs on Saturday afternoon and evening. He was wearing an inconspicuous black polo shirt as well as a signature Superman-style ‘do. Other fans spotted Amy Adams at Ferndale’s Imperial on Saturday night, some were even seated next to her at the restaurant’s communal benches. Adams reportedly was slightly annoyed that patrons continuously asked for her photo, but she smiled while cell phones snapped images nonetheless. The Zach Snyder film the two are starring in together is currently filming in Birmingham. Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, has been spotted around town with his wife Jennifer Garner recently as well. The closed movie set is under intense security and Brett Callwood attempted to infiltrate the filming last month, but was forced to give up his camera’s memory card, lest he make off with telling photos.

    The post Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Shop Talk: Harvard and Duke students moderate panel discussion in Detroit

    The Social Club Grooming Company, a metro Detroit-based environmentally conscious company that focuses on health and beauty as well as education, will host Shop Talk this Thursday, a special in their on-going event series that will bring students from both Harvard and Duke for a panel discussion about the social-entreprenurial climate and business innovation happening in Detroit. Detroiters like Burn Rubber’s Rick Williams, fashion photographer Piper Carter, Crain’s Detroit’s Eric Cedo, Mission Throttle’s Jamie Shea, and campaign manager Bryan Barnhill will come together to discuss how to create change in the city’s economic landscape through innovation and entrepreneurship. Of course what makes this panel discussion unique is the way in which it will take place. As The Social Club is a barber shop, each panelist will be receiving a haircut while speaking, the trimmings from which will be used for their nitrogen content to help grow plants in the city. Part of a series that will help Detroiters meet city leaders, voices, artists, activists, and business owners, Shop Talk’s objective is to help young people understand their role in the city’s ever-changing economic system. “There’s so much positive energy in Detroit right now,” says Sebastian Jackson, The Social Club’s founder. “It’s […]

    The post Shop Talk: Harvard and Duke students moderate panel discussion in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Cover Story

Detroit Stars in Low Winter Sun

AMC’s newest drama has gritty Motown as a setting

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

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There is a sense of territorial pride in knowing outsiders think enough of your city to base their talent, resources and reputations here. It’s a happy diversion from convicted ex-mayors, tax-liened emergency managers and a dysfunctional school system, and it’s fun to look for familiar landmarks in the background of a series broadcast worldwide. But let’s be for real: Detroit might magically have been transformed into New Orleans, Albuquerque or the big city in a film-friendly state had it not been for the $7,544,611 in incentives granted Low Winter Sun by the state of Michigan. According to the Michigan Film

Office (MFO), the production expects

to hire 245 Michigan workers, a full-time equivalent of 148 jobs, and is projected to spend $26.4 million here in making its nine remaining episodes.

Mark Adler, owner of VAIdigital video assist company in Novi and founder of the Michigan Production Alliance, worked on the Low Winter Sun pilot as key video assist operator.

“They had a predominantly Michigan crew on the pilot, and I think you will have a predominantly Michigan crew on the series, which will shoot for 10 months,” Adler says. “I would say there will be at least a 150 [person]-Michigan crew, both on set and behind the scenes in departments like accounting, licensing and their production office.”

The incentive legislation, officially titled the Film and Digital Media Production Assistance Program, was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) and signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2011. It transformed the film credits into a line-item budget appropriation and capped the state’s total contribution for all productions at $25 million annually. Through an unexpected bubble in the system, the figure was more than doubled to $58 million for fiscal 2013, which ends in October. However, Snyder has said he intends to slash it back to $25 million for fiscal 2014.

“The sad truth is, each year an appropriations committee has to decide whether they’re going to allow us to have $25 million,” says Adler. “Due to the efforts of many filmmakers who lobbied on Sen. Richardville, we were able to get an additional $25 million plus an amount, I think it was $8 million, that rolled over. That’s how we got to $58 million.”

Regardless of the number, it’s up to Margaret O’Riley to divvy it up. A veteran Republican politico who served under Gov. John Engler and helped create the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, O’Riley was appointed by Snyder to direct the MFO around Halloween 2012. She traveled to the Sundance Film Festival to explain Michigan’s confused incentive picture and reaffirm the state is still open and eager for film business.

“I was very busy meeting with producers who had Michigan connections,” O’Riley explains. “Either they had done projects here or they were from here. I was trying to get the word out about the Michigan film industry and the resources we have. I think we’re going to see projects coming here because of some of those meetings.”

No single topic engages and enrages the local film community more than the incentive program. There’s not enough money in the pot. We can’t compete with the packages of other states. We lost precious momentum when Snyder bad-mouthed filmmaking as an industry here, then approved funding reductions.

None of this comes as a shock to O’Riley. “I come to this job with 20 years of experience in economic development, and incentives have always been a source of debate,” she says. “Whether they’re for manufacturing or green energy or technology, it’s an age-old issue. But I was a little surprised that there was this whole discussion about films being supported with public dollars, because I’m so used to debating whether we should have them at all.”

The concern for Adler is, “There seems to be no strategic plan. There’s a certain amount of money, they’re bringing in films, but there’s no real plan to build infrastructure or maintain crew levels, which have fallen back to 2007 levels after hundreds left the state to find work.”

Going back to Lansing every year to ensure the incentives are still there is a long-term detriment to attracting producers, Adler believes. “These people work several years out, and they need to know,” he maintains. “They don’t want to wait until the last minute. What we would like to see from the state is a little more consistency, and some support. We hate it when the governor says negative things about the film industry because faith in the leadership goes down. Our application process is not as easy as states like Ohio and Georgia. And we’d like to get the Michigan Economic Development Corporation promoting us in a more positive way.”

 

LWS: Long-term thing or just a fling?

 

The expectations for Low Winter Sun are considerable, yet the plot suggests that the storyline could be wrapped up in a one-season arc, like the British version. Is Mundy producing a show for the short term or a long, successful run?

“You need to do both,” he says. “I think The Wire was pretty much the best show ever on television, and every one of those seasons was very much its own self-contained thing. And yet its world was big enough so you knew it was always going to keep going. So to me, that’s the goal. You want it to be satisfying for people who watch this season and not feel like they’re being eased along, but at the same time you’ve got to understand all the avenues for growth and the ways you want to keep following these people for hopefully five, six, seven seasons, as long as we can keep making it good.

“I’ve got such a deep affection for this city, I’ve got to tell you,” Mundy adds. “For everybody, it was such a special process doing this pilot. I can’t quite describe it, but everybody from the crew to the cast just attached themselves to the place in a really kind of profound way. It was great.”

Maybe he’ll need to start looking for a condo.

 

Jim McFarlin writes about media for Metro Times. Send comments to jmcfarlin@metrotimes.com.

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