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  • 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.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Hockey in the Holy Land

For Huntington Woods resident Ira Schlussel, strapping on the blades for an Olympic-like competition in Israel has been years in the making.

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There are two things you should know about Ira Schlussel: The man loves God and he loves hockey. A passion for the fastest game on Earth happened around age 6, thanks in no small part to the players of the day, including Gordie Howe, Dale McCourt and the rest of the winged wheelers; it’s been his passion for 40 years. His relationship with God happened (most likely) at birth.

Schlussel, an observant Jew, will combine his two loves on the only ice rink in Israel — “The Star Spangled Banner” bellowing from the speakers, Stars and Stripes draping his chest — as a participant in the 19th Maccabiah Games, which begin this year on July 21.

The Maccabiah Games, known by some as the “Jewish Olympics,” began in 1932; the event was forced to take a near two-decade hiatus after 1935, however, due to the Holocaust. They returned in 1950 and, after the 1953 competition, became quadrennial, like their Greek predecessor.

This year, the Maccabiah Games will host more than 9,000 athletes from 71 countries, making it the third-largest sporting event in the world. Included are Schlussel, 46, and nearly 70 other athletes and coaches representing the United States’ three hockey teams. 

Though Schlussel admits he never paid much attention to the games, they’ve paid attention to him.

“My first trip to Israel was in 1977, I was 10 years old; I went to one of the swimming events at the Maccabiah Games,” he says. “It’ll be neat, after 36 years, going back and now participating.”

Twenty years after that first visit, Israel — and the games — found Schlussel again, but this time with an opportunity to compete.

It was 1997. A newlywed Schlussel, along with wife Cara, headed to Israel for their honeymoon. It was also the year of the 15th Maccabiah Games. Schlussel figured he could make the trip doubly special; but it wasn’t meant to be as he didn’t make the team — a decision you can tell he still disagrees with years later, but only if you pay close attention. (Schlussel is pretty mild mannered, but a subtle change in his voice’s timbre was the tell when he said, simply: “I didn’t make the team.”)

And, to underscore his belief, he sought out opinions.

“The guy who’s running the team now was on that [1997] team,” Schlussel says. “I had a conversation with him in Philadelphia at the first tryout and he said, ‘You should have played in ’97!’ and I said, ‘I tried out in ’97 and I didn’t make that team!’”

It turns out that one of the major factors in Schlussel not making the ’97 team had little to do with his level of talent, but what he’d done — or not done — in the past. Schlussel didn’t play college hockey, which served as a glaring omission on his sports résumé for the deciders of the team.

While other members of the Maccabiah hockey team typically spent their college years on skates, Schlussel, who now spends his days as general counsel for the digital engagement agency ePrize, instead focused on earning his degree and going to law school; hockey had to take a step back.

Since he began playing the sport, Schlussel says he has only spent one year blade-free, and that was at age 22 when he first moved to Washington, D.C., to begin his first year of law school at Georgetown University.

Sixteen years after the disappointment of being passed over for the ’97 team, the games would come calling again. Schlussel says he really paid little attention to the games after that; it wasn’t even on his radar when he got a call in August 2012 about a tryout in Philadelphia. On a lark he decided to go and, after the three-day tryout, Schlussel was all but guaranteed a spot; he just had to decide if he wanted it. Several factors played into his decision to compete, he says, starting first and foremost with the team itself.

“I wanted to play on a team that was sufficiently talented to make the trip worthwhile,” he says. “And then there was the significant cost factor and time away from work.”

After another round of tryouts, Schlussel felt comfortable that the team would be strong enough to warrant the trip. The only hurdle remaining was significant costs: He knew the expense wouldn’t be that significant if he traveled alone, but the tried-and-true family man knew that wasn’t an option.

“I wasn’t going to ‘just to play hockey in Israel’ — I really wanted to take my family,” he says.

And so the trip took on a third passion. It began as an opportunity to play hockey for his country, in the Holy Land of his faith — and now it included his family in the stands.

“This will be my fifth trip to Israel, but it’s the first family trip and maybe the only family trip. I’m very much looking forward to seeing Israel through my kids’ eyes.”

The competition begins on July 21 and ends four days later. There are four teams competing this year, so the chances of Schlussel coming back to Michigan with a medal around his neck are fairly good, though he acknowledges the Canadians might run away with the gold. Either way, medaling doesn’t seem to be at the forefront of his mind.

“I’m very passionate about hockey, but I have a similar, maybe even more, passion about Israel. It’s really combining two of my passions,” he says. “To stand on the ice with the big USA jersey, listening to the national anthem, and then the Israeli national anthem I think will be a really moving experience. It’ll be a culmination.”

Eric Walters is an editorial intern at the Metro Times. Send comments to

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We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
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