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  • Metro Times seeking stories of college sexual assault

    The Metro Times is looking to hear your experiences will sexual assault on a Michigan college campus — from anything to how many sexual assault prevention programs, rape kits or crisis centers you may have had access to, to how the administration or local law enforcement handled your experience. If you, or anyone you know might be interested in talking to a reporter at the Metro Times, please email us at college@metrotimes.com.

    The post Metro Times seeking stories of college sexual assault appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Get ready for National Tequila Day!

    Thursday, July 24th marks National Tequila Day, and forget everything you know about the beverage. Those nasty old “tequilas” of yesterday were find for doing body shots, but tequila has become something of a luxury spirit while few were paying attention. Have you tried all the varieties of tequila? Can you tell the difference between blanco, joven, reposed, añejo and extra añejo?  If your local bar doesn’t have the stuff that will help you celebrate this important holiday, there are several bars that cater just to the tequila fan. There’s Aqua Rum and Tequila Bar in the MGM Grand Detroit Casino in Detroit, as well as Rojo Mexican Bistro in Novi, which offers more than 100 kinds of tequila, and Taqo Detroit, a new spot serving American-friendly Mexican fare and serving an astonishing variety of tequilas, more than 200 in all. Been waiting for a reason to drink up this south-of-the-border nectar? You got it. Guzzle responsibly.    

    The post Get ready for National Tequila Day! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

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Culture Feature

Ponyride's Entrepreneurial Spirit

Ponyride, the brainchild of Slows Bar-B-Q founder Phil Cooley, houses innovation that feeds Detroit’s ‘renaissance’ buzz.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2013:06:17 02:17:15

Veronika Scott

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Phillip Cooley

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Derek Craig

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Ponyride, located at 1401 Vermont Street in Detroit houses 25 different businesses.


An adventure and a great cup of java are brewing at Anthology Coffee. Tucked away at 1401 Vermont St. in a former abandoned warehouse in Corktown, Anthology Coffee is part of Ponyride — a community of shops and businesses found in a unique Detroit setting.

The brainchild of Slows Bar-B-Q owner Phillip Cooley, Ponyride opened two years ago and was created to house concepts and concerns its tenants were passionate about, from entrepreneurial to nonprofit. Distinctive murals decorate the building’s outer walls as you drive up — painted by many different American and international artists, as part of the Detroit Beautification Project.

Working the counter at Anthology Coffee is California native Derek Craig, 25, from Napa Valley. Craig serves up a dynamite cup of coffee called Ardi, which is from Southern Ethiopia — and tastes like blueberries and dark chocolate; it’s as good a cup of coffee as you can imagine.

Craig met Anthology Coffee owner Josh Longsdorf in California and moved to Detroit to work for him. Anthology Coffee has been up an running for more than two years and has operated out of Ponyride since last September; before that, Longsdorf operated out of various pop-up stores.

“The people of Detroit is what sold it for me” says Craig, Anthology’s only employee, about moving from the West Coast to lay stakes in the Motor City. “They are humble and genuine.”

On a peaceful Saturday morning, a ballet class is being held at the venue next door to Anthology. Craig sees the community at Ponyride as collaborative rather than competitive. “It is more like a family,” he says, where residents barter and trade in good faith. “It’s really easy for ideas to turn into something.”

On a Monday afternoon, Ponyride is positively hopping. In a shared space typically used for yoga and hip-hop dance, there is a workshop collaboration to promote joy in Detroit. The place is filled with about 40 people and growing. The energy is electric.

A visit to Ponyride is a journey. Walk upstairs to Detroit Denim Company. The owner, Eric Yelsma, has been here two years and loves Ponyride. “Any community space has its pros and cons” says Yelsma, “but this space is fantastic.”

Detroit Denim started out of Yelsma’s house, but he calls Ponyride his first real start. His handmade jeans include all U.S.-manufactured materials, made on traditional machines. He and his three part-time employees also make belts, a few leather goods and even Apple MacBook covers, developed, he says, from a Ponyride-facilitated collaboration.

Journey to the space adjacent to Detroit Denim, and you happen to the home of the Empowerment Plan, where multiple seamstresses are making coats that turn into sleeping bags. Arnetta is making pockets. Annis is working on Velcro and foot bags.

The coat-and-sleeping bag combination is the invention of Veronika Scott, who had the idea a couple of years ago while a student at the College for Creative Studies. In 2011, Scott became Ponyride’s first tenant and this has become her full-time job. Four thousand coats have been made so far this year, going all to homeless people in 10 cities throughout the country; Scott states that her main priority, however, is Detroit.

All her employees are single parents who have, themselves, been homeless. They take donations. People can sponsor coats for $100 dollars. The Empowerment Plan also receives corporate sponsorships, including from Rock Ventures, Quicken Loans and General Motors.

A return to Anthology Coffee finds Ponyride creator Cooley, who calls this space his actual home and residence. “I feel like I get to wake up and play every day,” Cooley says, “with people bouncing ideas off each other from all different disciplines, whether for profit or nonprofit.”

Cooley grew up in the rural town of Marysville, one hour north of Detroit. He earned an undergraduate film degree and then dropped out of a master’s architectural program at the University of Michigan to work full time at Slows Bar-B-Q, the company he founded.

Combining Slows and architecture school was a 180-hour week, he says, adding, “and an impossibility.” Before that, he spent two years modeling, a job that took him from New York to London, Tokyo, Paris and Barcelona.

Cooley bought the 30,000-square-foot space that is Ponyride for a bargain foreclosure rate of $100,000 with earnings from Slows because, he says, it was a bargain he could not pass up. He was looking for a residence with working shop space and wanted to no longer pay rent. He saw Ponyride as both a home and a springboard for a myriad of possibilities. He then brought in friends and, ultimately, the community to ask them what they wanted to do with the space — taking suggestions for whatever people were passionate about.

Because of volunteer labor, he is able to keep rents low, at 20 to 25 cents per square foot, constituting a 75-80 percent reduction from the market rate. There is also an educational component whereby tenants teach free classes to give back for the bargain they receive. The goal, Cooley says, is to make this sustainable.

There are 25 shops and businesses at Ponyride and another 20 waiting to get in. Remodeling is 90 percent complete. From a typeset letterpress to a production company making videos, to a metalsmith’s shop and woodworkers, the tenants, according to Cooley, are “the reason that Ponyride exists.”

The name Ponyride is meant to conjure going back in time to when people are younger and more creative with fewer hang-ups. “When you are young, everyone loves a pony ride,” says Cooley, who sees Detroit as a city of hope and tremendous potential. He feels projects like Ponyride allow people to do what they’re passionate about, “Detroiters — and Detroit — will save itself.” A visit to Ponyride truly makes this seem possible.

Carl Bookstein writes about culture and business for the Metro Times. Send comments to cbookstein@metrotimes.com.

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