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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    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.



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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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