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  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

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  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

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  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now

    The schedule for Blowout 17, taking place Wednesday April 30 to Saturday May 3 in Hamtramck, Detroit and Ferndale, is available to see now. Visit to see the schedule and plan your festival. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s

    The Trash Brats hardly ever play live anymore, so each show feels like an event. Wandering around Small’s in Hamtramck late Saturday night, there’s a near-carnival atmosphere in the air. The Brats were never supposed to be taken seriously, but years on-and-off the radar have given the band the gift of respect born out of longevity. We’re not being dismissive at all. In fact, no amount of kooky faces from guitarist Ricky Rat and bassist Toni Romeo can hide the fact that these boys can play and the band writes killer bubblegum sleaze-rock tunes. The fact that the venue was packed compared to, say, a recent show by internationally known punk icons Sylvain Sylvain and Glen Matlock (which you would think would attract a similar audience) is testament to the fact that, in Detroit, the Trash Brats command a certain reverence. Before the Trash Brats took to the stage, local punks The Dives kicked off the night with a set of sincere, energetic and well-performed, if standard, punk rock. No frills (besides frontman Ron McPherson’s dapper suit), the band features members of the Junk Monkeys, the Black Mollies and the Joint Chiefs, and it drives through a set of catchy, […]

    The post City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art

    By: Ayana Bryant-Weekes The Red Bull House of Art, a multidisciplinary and collaborative art project, relieves the stress of financial limitation or lack of tools and space so budding artists can manifest their creative dreams right here in Detroit. Six artists are selected for a three-month residency where they are provided individual studio space and materials, allowing their artistic concepts to flow freely. At the end of each residency is an unveiling and public display at the Red Bull House of Art Gallery. As show curator Matt Eaton told us in a 2013 interview, “The selection process for the current crop of artists was just the same as every round. The goal is not to find the hippest, coolest artists (though I think they are all very cool), but to find the people who may not typically have a voice.” This year, for the first time, Red Bull House of Art will showcase more than just Detroit artists. National artists from across the country in a special artist-in-residency program will have the opportunity to showcase their work to a much broader audience, and bring a national art stage to the Motor City. Since opening, 54 Detroit-based artists have been given the […]

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Cover Story

Shredding it up in Motown

Two 20-somethings carry the hope of a metropolis on their backs in an effort to bring the X Games to Detroit.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

The Works Inc., which produced the video bid touting Detroit, secured the closure of city streets and a helicopter to film a rally car weaving around Detroit landmarks.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

ESPN, the cable sports network, has produced the summer X Games since its inception in 1995; two years later the network launched the winter games.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Organizers estimate that hosting the X Games could deliver $150 million in economic benefit to the city of Detroit.

To see Michigan hometown athlete Brandon Dosch shred a BMX dirt bike course is something to behold. The recent silver medalist from X Games Brazil may now be coming home to X Games Detroit in 2014. “It would mean the world to me to compete in front of my city,” Dosch says. Such are the rich possibilities for the Motor City — one of four finalist cities in competition for the ESPN X Games expansion in summers of 2014-2016.

We have Action Sports Detroit LLC to thank for this chance. Action Sports is Kevin Krease and Garret Koehler — the team behind Detroit’s X Games bid. The other finalist cities are Chicago, Austin, Texas, and Charlotte, N.C. ESPN promises a decision as early as in the second half of June.

Recently back from Barcelona, Spain, to observe one of six current annual international X Games events, Krease and Koehler of Action Sports are energized. We meet at Great Lakes Coffee’s charming Midtown location. These two college friends from Ohio’s Miami University are in their mid-20s, youthful and vibrant. They see this city as the ultimate place for the X Games. Koehler speaks of “a perfect alignment between the grittiness of Detroit and the grittiness of the X Games.”

In early May, Action Sports released a video supporting this city’s bid for the X Games. The video, produced by the Work Inc., a Detroit-based production house, includes poignant, vivid camera shots showcasing the city. It features young bikers, skateboarders and a rally car racer covering terrain from Belle Isle to Campus Martius. From the abandoned train station to the Ambassador Bridge, this video’s hard-edged vision of the city and its inspired youth culture is completely captivating.

ESPN’s X Games are the widely popular and quintessential extreme sports Olympics: from skateboarding to BMX biking to motocross, rally car racing and beyond. These are the very elite top athletes in their games performing breakthrough tricks and athletic acrobatics. The summer X Games may now be venturing from their glamorous Los Angeles home base to gritty Detroit, home of survivors.

In the early 1990s, ESPN saw a punk rock-inspired Generation X demographic that wasn’t necessarily watching football, and seized upon it. The games, which began in 1995 in Rhode Island and have called L.A. their primary home over the years, now include a winter games in Aspen, Colo., as well as events in Brazil, Barcelona, Munich, Germany and Tignes, France — all part of ESPN’s global expansion of the X Games to six annual events. Originally titled the “Extreme Games,” the event has included sports later incorporated into the Olympics and has contributed to the definition of an action sports lifestyle.

The X Games in Detroit would, according to Krease, likely be a three-day event held in late July or early August for three consecutive years, 2014-2016. The events, which have changed over the years, would certainly include skateboarding, motocross, BMX biking and rally cars, but going back to past X Games, may even include street luge and bungee jumping. According to Krease, “There could be wakeboarding in the Detroit River. It is an open platform to do some interesting things.”

Koehler describes these games as a “celebration of youth culture.” He begins: “X Games is a brand ESPN started comprised of action sports never before televised — an entire brand created around the action sports lifestyle. A lot of the events in the X Games later became Olympic sports. They are a cutting-edge brand. What is happening in Detroit is in perfect alignment with the X Games brand. Young people are taking action, taking risks to succeed in this city.” Koehler speaks fondly of the current business climate in Detroit and its favorability to young people exploring new ventures.

According to Krease, “What is attractive about X Games is what is attractive about Detroit. The X Games are all about action — action sports and action generally. Detroit is also about action and creating meaningful change.”

The two men feel Detroit is the ideal host city for these games because of the synergies between the event’s brand and Detroit’s well-acknowledged vibe. “X Games is a gritty extreme event. Detroit is a city of extremes — extreme wealth and extreme poverty,” Koehler says. “We believe this event can bridge these extremes and build stronger community.”

X Games is hugely popular among young people. The average attendee is 23 years old. This fits well with a growing youth community in this city, Krease explains. “Young people want to fix a lot of problems and stresses of the city,” he says, adding, “X Games is a platform to share the new story of Detroit and what is changing for the positive here.”

“This city embodies perseverance, more so than our competition,” Koehler says. “Austin or Charlotte would hold events at a race track outside the city. We’re proposing they hold events in spaces that these athletes are already performing in anyway. The urban environment of Detroit allows the showcasing of talent — whether BMX biking or skateboarding — in areas of the city they are always showcasing their talents.” The powerful video by the Work made as part of this city’s campaign for the games aptly captures this vision with local athletes riding and skating in Detroit’s gritty urban places and spaces.

“Action sports are about a lot more than sports,” Koehler says. “They are about lifestyles, building communities and events built in public spaces, not in private racetracks outside of town.”

According to an economic impact study of the 2010 X Games in Los Angeles (done by Micronomics, Inc.), that year’s games produced as much as $50 million in identifiable benefits to Los Angeles. The team at Action Sports Detroit feels very realistically that three years of summer X Games in Detroit, from 2014-2016, could bring $150 million in economic benefits to the city.

Furthermore, based on historical numbers, they feel attendances can safely be forecast at 150,000 to 200,000 over three days. Last year’s games in Los Angeles saw 144,700 people attend. Peak attendance was 268,390 in 1999 for X Games 5, held in San Francisco. Costs for putting on the games are estimated at between $15 million and $20 million per year.

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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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