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    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.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Culture Feature

Robert Hayden: Native Son

HISTORY SPOTLIGHT

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This year, Aug. 4 marks the 100th birthday of Detroit native Robert Hayden. Emerging from a foster home, he would join the Federal Writers’ Project and later make invaluable contributions to Afro-American folklore, along with his history of Michigan’s Underground Railroad. He would also teach at the University of Michigan.

Hayden was born in Detroit’s old Paradise Valley neighborhood. As his biological parents split before his birth, he was adopted by a foster family that lived on the same street as his birth mother.

This was a tumultuous foster home, according to Mark A. Sanders, who wrote about Hayden for The Oxford Companion to African-American Literature, Hayden both witnessed and received numerous beatings in this house of “chronic angers” that would forever haunt him, as the memory of those traumas brought “[his] dark nights of the soul.”

Adding to an already embattled upbringing, Hayden suffered severe problems with his vision; this hampered him from partaking in the athletic activities enjoyed by nearly all the other young males in his neighborhood. As if there were not enough obstacles present, his small stature put him at a further disadvantage in a hardscrabble environment, where most every boy had to physically fight. 

Hayden would find solace in literature. Immersing himself in reading and study, he obtained a scholarship to Detroit City College (now Wayne State University). Later, while pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Michigan, Hayden studied under the renowned poet W.H. Auden, whose tutelage elucidated the subtleties of poetic form and technique.

As a poet, Hayden’s innate gifts were refined. Among his most prominent poems is “The Whipping,” in which an older woman chases down and then beats a young boy in a frenzied rage. When the assault concludes, the woman “leans muttering against / a tree, exhausted, purged / avenged in part for lifelong hidings / she has had to bear.”

Hayden’s professor Auden once grimly declared in his own poetry, “Those to whom evil is done / do evil in return.” Hayden, more so than most, had witnessed this cycle; some view much of his work as an eloquent attempt to end the cycle of anger and its resulting evils.

As part of the Federal Writers’ Project, Hayden had conducted extensive research on black history and folk culture — two subjects that would provide much fodder for his writings (both poetry and prose), works that were admired for their historical consciousness as much as for their literary merits.

Another enduring quality in Hayden’s writing is his economical use of words. “Nothing superfluous, nothing lacking” is an old writers’ maxim to which his work adheres.

Along with his writing, Hayden had a long academic career, first teaching at Michigan, then later at Fisk University in Tennessee, before returning to Ann Arbor. He was married to one Erma Morris, a follower of the Bahá’í faith, to which he eventually converted.

Hayden — who died at age 66 in Ann Arbor in 1980 — was described in The New York Times Book Review as “one of the most underrated and unrecognized poets in America.” Some might deem this decent “recognition” in its own right. More recently, in April 2012, the U.S. Postal Service featured Hayden on a postage stamp — one designated as “Forever.” 

Ray Cavanaugh is a freelance writer from Boston. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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