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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

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Culture Feature

Detroiter Hangs Loose

Kiteboarding comes into Michigan’s summertime fore.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


“It’s a rush,” says Brian LeFeve when asked about the appeal of kiteboarding.

LeFeve discovered the sport back in the late 1990s, when the place he was working as a windsurfing instructor received some kiteboarding equipment to check out.

With no one to learn from, LeFeve and his pals began teaching themselves.

“It was brutal,” he recalls. “The learning curve was hellacious.”

They were lucky they didn’t kill themselves while learning the ropes, he says. In fact, he adds, one of his good friends unfortunately had his luck run out completely.

But that death didn’t stop LeVeve, who got good enough at the sport that friends started coming to him for lessons, and then friends of friends, until it turned into a business.

Much has changed since the sport’s early days, with advances in technology making kiteboarding considerably safer and easier to do. But it’s still not something a person can try just by renting some equipment and giving it a whirl. In fact, he says, no one rents out  the equipment because of liability issues.

Instead, you need to take lessons and buy the gear. As the owner of the Great Lakes Surf Shop in St. Clair Shores with his wife, Melanie, LeFeve, 42, can provide both. Two- and three-day training camps are offered from May through October, with the cost ranging from $499 to $649. Equipment runs from about $1,800 to $2,500, so it’s not a cheap sport to get into.

But there’s also nothing else quite like it, combining aspects of surfing, paragliding and, for those who are really into it, gymnastics.

With feet strapped to a board and a harness hooking you up to the kite (which is really more like a small parachute) the effect is like getting pulled by a truck, says LeFeve. Then, once you’ve picked up speed, you “pitch” the kite in the opposite direction, bringing you airborne.

“It’s like getting launched from a slingshot,” says LeFeve.

Beginners can usually stay aloft for only an instant. Pros like LeFeve stay up for as long as 10 seconds before landing back on the water, “soft as a feather,” as he aptly describes.

For all the force that’s involved, says LeFeve, part of what makes the experience so awesome are those brief spans in the air.

“It’s like everything turns off and gets quiet,” he says. “It’s really amazing how tranquil it can be. It’s kind of its own world.”

There is something primal about the desire to fly, and kiteboarding is a unique way to fulfill that desire.

Because of the advances in equipment design, the sport has become much more accessible.

“The youngest student I’ve had was 7,” he says. “The oldest is now 72.”

Within the last few years, he’s also seen more women giving it a try.

I tell him that I first saw people doing it on Lake St. Clair, out at Metro Beach. The wind there is better in the spring and fall, he explains. During the summer, he explains, the place to be is up on Lake Huron, near the town of Tawas.

“That area is one of the very best in the country for kiteboarding,” he says.

As for those lacking the gumption to give it a try, well, that’s OK too.

Curt Guyette is Metro Times news editor. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or cguyette@metrotimes.com.

Check out our kiteboarding slidshow here.

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