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  • You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face

    There is no easy answer to the question regarding what should be done with Detroit’s abandoned homes. However, an Eastern Market company has a solution that could reflect Detroit’s possibly bright future. Homes Eyewear has set out to make the city a little more stylish, and do their part in cleaning it up by repurposing select woods from neglected homes for sunglasses. All of the wood that Homes uses is harvested from vacant houses with the assistance of Reclaim Detroit. A lot of work goes into prepping the wood to be cut and shaped into frames. Homes goes through each piece to remove nails, paint or anything else detrimental to their production (it’s a bit strange to think that your wooden sunglasses could have had family portraits nailed to them). In order to produce more durable eyewear, they salvage only hardwoods like maple or beech, which are difficult to come by as most of the blighted homes were built with softer woods like Douglas fir and pine. If you’re worried about looking goofy, or shudder at the thought of salvaged wood resting on your nose, you can rest easy. Homes currently offers frames in the popular wayfarer style and are developing their unique spin on the classic aviators. For as […]

    The post You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor

    Detroit home-girl Lily Tomlin will perform at the Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, June 14. A press release reads, “Get together with Lily Tomlin for an unforgettable night of fun and sidesplitting laughter. “Tomlin is amazing” The NY Times and “as always a revelation.” The New Yorker This unique comic artist takes her audience on what the Washington Post calls a “wise and howlingly funny” trip with more than a dozen of her timeless characters—from Ernestine to Mrs. Beasley to Edith Ann.” “With astounding skill and energy, Tomlin zaps through the channels like a human remote control. Using a fantastic range of voices, gestures and movements, she conjures up the cast of characters with all the apparent ease of a magician pulling a whole menagerie of animals from a single hat.” NY Daily News “Her gentle touch is as comforting as it is edifying.” NY Time Out She has “made the one-person show the daring, irreverent art form it is today.” Newsweek Her long list of awards includes: a Grammy; two Tonys; six Emmys; an Oscar nomination; two Peabodys; and the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Find more info here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor

    The Detroit Metro Times, Detroit’s award-winning alternative weekly media company, is proud to announce the recent hire of Valerie Vande Panne as Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning independent journalist and Michigan native, Vande Panne’s work has appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business, The Daily Beast, and Salon, among other publications. Previously, Vande Panne attended Harvard University and was a regular contributor to The Boston Phoenix, and a news editor of High Times magazine. She has spent years covering drug policy among other subjects, including the environment, culture, lifestyle, extreme sports, and academia. “Valerie understands our business and what we expect to accomplish in Detroit. She has an excellent sense for stories that will move our readers, as well as experience with balancing print and digital content. I’m excited to have her at the paper and trust her leadership as we move forward,” said Detroit Metro Times publisher Chris Keating.

    The post Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’

    She welcomes you when you enter Detroit, from every direction, with the one word that might just be Detroit’s biggest philosophical question: Injured? Joumana Kayrouz is deeper than the inflated image watching over Detroit, peddling justice to the poor and broken of the city. This Wednesday, Drew Philp takes us behind the billboard and into the heart of the Kayrouz quest. (And all of Brian Rozman’s photos of Kayrouz have not been retouched.) Check out MT‘s cover story, on newsstands Wednesday!

    The post Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt

    There was a fire in an upstairs apartment at PJ’s Lager House on Monday evening. No people were hurt, although three cats belonging to the tenants died after CPR. The fire broke out around 10:30 p.m. during a show featuring Zombie Jesus & the Chocolate Sunshine Band, Curtin, and Jeffrey Jablonsky. “We just smelled smoke and someone yelled everyone has to get out,” 33-year-old Nick Leu told MLive. On the Lager House Facebook page in the early hours of the morning, a post said, “We at PJ’s lager House would like to thank everyone for their care and concern. Also, a very big THANK YOU to all who stepped up to do what they could this evening. The fire was contained to the upstairs but due to water damage in the bar, we will be closed until it can be assessed. Everyone is safe and we will keep you updated.” A later update read, “Update from the big boss. Since there was no damage to the stage side of the bar, the show will go on tomorrow! You may have to enter through the back door and there may not be a large selection of booze but we are going […]

    The post Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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 The Sugar Clouds’ Partners Don’t Do That (They Watch and be Amazed) (Wax Splat) is a nostalgic look at the psychedelic days of ’60s grooviness. Even the album cover looks like a lava lamp. The male-female vocals have a sort of Jefferson Airplane feel, and the songs are blessed with both sugary sweet pop melodies and a garage-y earthiness. The story of the band’s formation is rather interesting; the two vocalists, Greg and Melissa Host, are a divorced couple who wrote the songs in their living room. The band is still together, so this divorce was a hell of a lot more civil than any we’ve ever known of. Steffanie Christi’an has friends in fairly high places. Her new Way Too Much mini-album is being put out by Nadir Omowale’s Distorted Soul label, and she is also a regular feature on Jessica Care Moore’s Black Women Rock revue. Maybe the choice of cover image isn’t the best – she looks a bit like a Tina Turner tribute act here. But that can and should be […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup 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.

The story of Detroit’s bid for the X Games began with Ian Studders, a good friend of Krease and Koehler from college at Miami University. Studders, who currently works at Wayne State University, heard about ESPN’s plans for global expansion of the X Games and thought the games positively belong in Detroit — thinking this was something the city could really take ownership of.

Studders shared this vision with Krease. After a lot of research, this past fall Krease contacted the ESPN consulting group managing the global expansion of the X Games. They put him in touch with ESPN executive director Jack Weinert, who just so happened to be in Detroit for another conference at the Cobo Center.

Krease, 27, born and raised in Grosse Pointe, and currently a resident in Midtown’s Park Shelton apartments, seized the opportunity and reached out to Weinert. He picked up Weinert at the Marriott hotel and took him for a tour of the city, including a visit to Astro Coffee in Corktown, where Weinert urged Krease to put together a Detroit bid.

Krease, who was enthused, had been thinking about a bid for the 2016 or 2017 summer games when Weinert told him the expansion would begin in 2014; the bid process would begin October of 2012, and the clock was ticking.

With Ian Studders busy with his full-time job at Wayne State, Krease reached out to Chicago native and 26-year-old Koehler, a college friend who’d been working in project management in Chicago. He wanted a project manager’s eyes to look at the opportunity, as Detroit’s qualified bid procedure for the X Games had begun.

Koehler came to Detroit in December and immediately got on board. His reaction: “I’m going to do this. This has got to happen in Detroit. There is no better city for the X Games.” He promptly quit his job at Groupon and moved here at the beginning of January 2013.

Krease and Koehler make up Action Sports Detroit LLC, the team behind the city’s bid for the X Games. Krease is founder and director. Koehler is managing partner. They do everything from cleaning the office to building financial models.

They have also had a lot of help. The Work Inc. put together the powerful video behind Detroit’s X Games bid. The event production management group Paxahau, which put on Movement, Detroit’s electronic music festival, as well as the Detroit Jazz Festival, has also been instrumental.

Perhaps no one has been of more help than Rock Ventures LLC, the company of local business titan Dan Gilbert, also owner of Quicken Loans Inc., the Cleveland Cavaliers, casinos in Ohio and Maryland, and now Detroit’s Greektown Casino Hotel too. Gilbert is providing funding and office space in the Compuware Building for Krease and Koehler.

Gilbert says of the X Games bid, “X Games Detroit is an outstanding fit for the city, the fans, ESPN and the games themselves. The core of Detroit is a young, diverse, edgy and gritty place. It matches up perfectly for the kind of feel that the X Games are looking to achieve. If we all get behind this effort Detroit can win the rights to host the X Games for three consecutive years beginning next summer. It would be another big confidence booster not only for Detroiters and the region but also for the international audience who will see Detroit in an authentic and exciting light.”

R.J. Wolney, director of business development at Rock Ventures, elaborates on Gilbert’s sentiments by adding, “This aligns with everything we’re trying to do down here — a Detroit where people can live, work and play.”

Wolney, who has been helping Krease and Koehler with building financial models to help support their efforts in convincing ESPN to choose Detroit, sees them as “an excited and energized pair of guys — very fitting with the entrepreneurial spirit here. ESPN has the opportunity to come in and be part of the amazing story of the revitalization of Detroit.”

Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president at ESPN, the network responsible for all aspects of the X Games franchise, has given Krease, Koehler and the city they are touting some hope by way of positive comments. He spoke from Barcelona about what he has seen from the Detroit bid: “We love their passion. They have some terrific ideas. We’ve been very happy with what they’ve shown so far. It is an interesting and passionate vision.”

Part of what Krease and Koehler have done well so far is harness the power of social media. Through Facebook and Twitter, their vision has been “… to create a movement that resonated with people who care about Detroit. Social media is a way to tell the story. It is all about creating a place for people to show their support for the city,” Koehler says.

Their Facebook page includes X Games Detroit photos and postings from followers. The name of their movement is #XG2D. On social media, they advertised an X Games Detroit event that was held April 20 in Eastern Market, at which 2,000 people showed up in support — and the seminal hardcore punk band Negative Approach played. The online community that supported the bid had become tangible.

The X Games are about sports, but they go beyond sports, as does Detroit’s vision for the games. Koehler explains: “More than anything, X Games is a celebration of the action sports lifestyle. We want to create a festival that embodies the ethos of action sports — all about action, including music, art and craftsmanship. It will be an urban festival anchored in sports, including an outdoor gallery and art creation space in Hart Plaza.” The potential of such a festival here seems limitless.

The Work Inc.’s video for X Games Detroit is, by all accounts, riveting material with visceral moving shots of action sports athletes and iconic Detroit city images. It brings to mind the rising of hope over despair.

The production company was an early partner with Action Sports. The principals had mutual friends and the partnership grew from one small meeting last February. According to Christopher Gruse, one of the Work’s five partners, Krease and Koehler let them run wild with the ideas they had for the video.

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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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