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  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ 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

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