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  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race

    If a poll released this week is any indication of how the August 5 primary election will turn out, current Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano has reason to worry, Fox 2 reports. Ficano, who’s seeking a third term, polled in fourth place — behind former Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans, Westland Mayor Bill Wild and Wayne County Commissioner Phil Cavanaugh, according to Fox 2. The poll by Strategic Solutions LLC, showed 6.7 percent of respondents said they’d vote for Ficano, which isn’t so bad: He finished ahead of County Commissioner Kevin McNamara (who came in at No. 6) and someone literally described as “a candidate not named here” (who polled at No. 5.) If you’re planning to head to the polls — which you should! — and need some input on the candidates and ballot proposals, you can read for our election coverage in this week’s Metro Times.

    The post Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • A Mad Decent Mixtape

    Mad Decent Block Party will roll through town on Saturday, August 16, bringing to town artists like Dillon Francis, Diplo, Flosstradamus, RiFF RAFF, Keys N Krates, and Zeds Dead. Thugli, a Canadian duo, will perform on the Toronto leg of the tour and they put together a 45 minute mix that features songs by some of the tour’s featured artists as well as a host of others.  Listen to it here. 

    The post A Mad Decent Mixtape appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders

    Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host a special event this Saturday, July 26 in hopes of raising money for the local faction of an international nonprofit, Burners without Borders Detroit. Breaking Borders is a one-evening-only event that will feature live music, performance, and art. Satori Circus will perform along with spoken word artist ZakAndWhatArmy. Music by Tartanic, Dixon’s Violin, and Servitor. Fire dancers, hoop performers, and acrobats will provide a certain mysticism to the ambiance as old Victorian steampunk and tribal art is shown in the main gallery. There will also be a runway fashion show and the evening will end with a dubstep rave featuring DJ Forcefeed and Dotty. Truly, there’s something for everyone. Perhaps more importantly, there will be a full service bar. The event is open to those 18 and older and IDs will be checked at the door. Admission is $25 at the door, or $20 with the donation of a canned good. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the party goes until 2 a.m. A 20 percent commission will be taken from all art sold at this event and donated to Burners without Borders. The Tangent Gallery is located at 715 Milwaukee Ave., Detroit; 313-873-2955;

    The post Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project

    By Amanda Mooney There’s a lot that goes into producing a film, and unless you are a filmmaker you really have no idea. Writing, casting, finding a location, shooting, and editing; each step of the process can take days, months, and sometimes years to complete. Can you imagine doing it ALL in just 48 hours? The 48 Hour Film Project is an annual competition that takes place all over the world in various cities. According to Mike Madigan, head of the Detroit 48 Hour chapter, the city is one of the largest participating in terms of the number of teams. The competing teams go in blind as to what kind of film they will be producing, with no creative planning beyond getting a cast and crew together, Madigan explained. “They pick a genre out of a hat, and they get a line, a prop, and a character. And they have to incorporate that within a short film, that’s usually between 4 to 7 minutes long. And they have the timeframe of doing it all within 48 hours,” said Madigan, “So all the creative process of it all has to happen within that 48 hour–writing a script, putting it together, editing–to […]

    The post 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Passalacqua debut dark project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space

    Church: Revival is the new project by local rap duo Passalacqua (aka Bryan Lackner and Brent Smith), but it’s more than just a new Passalacqua release. The rappers teamed up with siblings Jax Anderson (frontwoman of rockers Flint Eastwood) and Seth Anderson, who together form the songwriting team called Syblyng (naturally). The result is a cycle of songs that promises to be darker than Passalacqua’s material so far. The project will make a live debut on Saturday, July 26 at a brand new venue space at the Detroit Bus Co.’s building Eight & Sand, and they will premiere the Right Bros.-directed video for the track “Baptism” as well. Other performances include Tunde Olaniran and Open Mike Eagle, and DJ sets by Nothing Elegant, Dante LaSalle, and Charles Trees. We met up the two duos at Eight & Sand to check out the new space and to talk about the project with all parties involved. Metro Times: How long have you been working together? Jax Anderson: Seth and I are constantly writing songs together. We want to push in the direction of becoming songwriters more frequently. This is our first project that we took on to co-write everything together. We’re basically just a songwriting entity. We won’t play live that […]

    The post Passalacqua debut dark project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Rapper Insite the Riot talks Detroit Future City

'If you're not at the table, you're on the menu,' says emcee

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

MT readers might remember local hip-hop artist Insite the Riot from such concert experiences as Blowout. But this local lady isn’t just spitting rhymes. She’s a leader of the Detroit community, actively working with Detroit Future City, among other groups. Insite took a few moments to speak with MT. This is what she had to say.

Metro Times: Tell me how you got involved with Detroit Future City.

Insite the Riot: I am a fellow through the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program through Wayne State University. That program is designed to bring mid-career professionals who are either from this area or various parts of the country into Detroit to work with different nonprofits and community development-based organizations. There are 22 of us, and the idea is that we’re placed in different organizations where we can create synergy and a sense of collaboration across the city. So, through the interview process, Detroit Future City ended up being a place that was interested in me. My thought process was, “Why not go to the source?” I didn’t know a lot about it, I wasn’t involved or in the planning process of it, so I had this opportunity to learn.

MT: You said something to me when we first met which stuck with me, and that was, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” 

Insite: Yeah, there’s a community activist and tireless fighter. Her name is Sandra Turner-Handy. She actually sits on our advisory board and our steering committee at Detroit Future City, but I know her from other tables that I sit at, and we’ve had these conversations about what spaces we occupy, and that was advice that she’s given me. I’ve repeated it to other people and they’ve said, “Oh, I’ve heard Sandra say that,” and so I keep that in the back of my mind to not be resistant to learning about or being in spaces that I don’t know about. 

MT: That’s smart. So how does your work with Detroit Future City play into your work as a musician and an artist?

Insite: My work at Detroit Future City is centered around community. That’s very intentional. It’s a decision that I made. One: I feel like the community should be informed about what’s happening around them, and what’s happening to them. And two: The community should have a voice in helping to shape things that are happening, particularly with all the changes happening in the city. I come from a background in community development, human service, and youth work, and so that’s why I evolved into that space. The connection with my music is that the music is all about inspiring and lifting up people, right? And that’s people as individuals. That’s people collectively. I think that’s where the connection comes in for the two. 

MT: Does your music affect your work at Detroit Future City?

Insite: I think so. … I think the approach that I take to my art and to the work that I do on a daily basis are the inspiration; the energy all comes from the same space. 

MT: Is there anything in particular, like a message you try to get out or a cause you’re particularly passionate about? 

Insite: Yeah, so again, community being this broader idea, In addition to the work that I do from 9 to 5 — 9 to 9 sometimes — I have my own company called New Heights. It’s the platform I use to put out my music projects. It’s also a platform I use to do a lot of speaking engagements in the community. I do a lot of performances that aren’t your typical, traditional music venues. So, like, in the month of June, I did a performance for a group called “Lips and Hips.” It’s a women’s empowerment and personal development organization. I did a performance for BMe Community, which is an organization related to black male engagement, and it’s a national organization. 

I’m about empowerment. I’m about encouraging young people. I’m about education. 

MT: You’re involved with the Foundation and the 5E Gallery. How does that play in with everything? 

Insite: So the work that I do with the Foundation — I’m a member of the collective. That’s my larger role now. As much as I have on my plate, I haven’t done a whole lot lately with the planning of things, but that work is all about… I don’t even want to say changing the perception of women artists, but it’s kind of like being the antithesis of what’s expected, right? So you can either fight against what you don’t agree with or you can support what you do. At the Foundation, it’s all about showing women who are mothers, who are wives, who are girlfriends, whatever, and providing a platform for their voices to be heard. Like women are diverse, dynamic creatures, right? We’re not monolithic, but we’re not this one image, or one or two images, that are constantly portrayed. By being a part of that collective and taking this group of women into spaces where people aren’t used to seeing that, it helps shape perception, and with younger women it helps show them it’s OK to just be you. 

MT: Who mentored you through this process, or who’s helped you step up?

Insite: Who’s helped me step up? Um, wow, so many people. I always say, “I stand on the shoulder of giants,” right? I don’t believe any of us get to anywhere in life by ourselves, as much as we like to claim that sometimes… “I worked hard, I grind it.” But you know, I think my first inspiration was my mother. She taught me that I could do anything that I wanted to do, and I believed it. I believed it, like, for real, you know? It wasn’t just like a fly-by-night. And then, for whatever reason, maybe it’s just being open, maybe it’s serendipity, maybe it’s God, I always run into people who are supportive and want to lift me up. 

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