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  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through BuildingDetroit.com, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Reports from Willie Nelson at Freedom Hill, Red Bull Creation

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Zoomance is in the air

We can all remember going to the Detroit Zoo as children. We were bewildered by the size of the elephants and terrified by the fierce lions. Now the zoo has figured out a way to give us that feeling back as adults at its annual Summer Zoomance. Last Tuesday night, the zoo was alive with those 21-and-up at this after-hours event. With drinks in hand, guests wandered around the park, regaining that childhood feeling of awe for the Detroit Zoo’s spectacular collection of animals. Guests enjoyed several locally brewed and domestic beers, as well as cocktails and a whole host of nostalgic park foods. In-between handfuls of Detroit Popcorn they were also treated to a live musical performance alongside the Rackham Fountain. Some were even so lucky as to be able to feed the giraffes at one of the night’s animal enrichment programs. All in all, it was a fantastic night for everyone in attendance. With great weather and exciting entertainment, it made for a fresh way to spend a summer night. For those who were not able to attend, don’t worry: There will be a second Summer Zoomance Thursday, Aug. 21!

‘On the Road Again’

Outlaw Country legend Willie Nelson, and his touring and recording group Family, performed a sold-out show at Freedom Hill this past Sunday with special guest Alison Krauss & Union Station, and Jason Isbell. Willie Nelson, one of the most recognized artists in the world, just released his 68th Studio Album entitled Band of Brothers in June. Wow! Not only does Willie make sweet country music, he’s acted in more than 30 films, co-authored several books, and is a well-known activist for biofuels and the legalization of marijuana. Willie sported his signature two long braid hairstyle and happily played his famous worn-out guitar named “Trigger.” He performed a few hits off the new album and, of course, a bunch of famous classic hits we all know and love, including “On the Road Again,” “Whiskey River,” and “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die.” The party could definitely be smelled out on the lawn, where we sang aloud, danced, laughed, and cried … and we left the show feeling quite happy, with our new Willie Nelson Beer Koozies.

Creation: Vending veggies

Red Bull Creation, an annual competition that brings together the country’s best makers, doers, hackers, and builders, came to fruition at the Recycle Here facilities in Detroit this weekend. While three Detroit teams participated, i3 Detroit, Detroitus, and OmniCorp, it was ultimately a Phoenix-based duo that won the competition. The Maker Twins pieced together a special vending machine that deals only in vegetables. The machine works via a digital app to deliver fresh vegetables in a farmers market environment. The competition’s judges included Caleb Kraft, community editor of Make magazine, Mike Szczys, managing editor of hackaday.com, Detroit’s own Tyree Guyton of the Heidelberg Project, and Greg Needle, director of the Innovation Gymnasium at the Lyle School of Engineering. Mike Murray of the winning team noted his love for the competition and the city in which it was held, saying: “We’re thrilled. This is a great venue, we love Detroit. All the teams were so great to work with. This really is an un-competition.”

Fucked up with weed

DDAYS trekked out to the Loving Touch in Ferndale on Friday to catch Toronto-based Fucked Up, out in support of the band’s latest release Glass Boys. The much-praised punk group — literally — brought along Weed, a four-piece band from Vancouver that seems to worship ’90s grunge as much as it does Dinosaur Jr. Fucked Up with Weed. After a few too many drinks, that alone had us laughing. As expected, by the time Fucked Up took the stage, the room was packed — a far cry from the band’s Detroit gigs at the 2500 Club to roughly a dozen people. The band mostly stuck with songs from its acclaimed David Comes to Life and new cuts off Glass Boys, but toward the end of the set, they tossed in “Father the Son,” the lead track off 2008’s Chemistry of Common Life. Unexpectedly, during Fucked Up’s classic “Police,” a couple pals of DDAYS lifted us above the crowd for what amounted to a 45-second crowdsurf. For a brief moment, we awkwardly soared above the Loving Touch room, and it was splendid. 

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