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  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years 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.


“Our inspiration was to show what is and what could be in Detroit,” Gruse says. “Let’s get these iconic Detroit spots and show a few other spots unknown. Clients come to us for the look and the unique way we conceptualize shots that are fitting with the X Games.”

The Work, founded in 2010, is made up of five partners, including Gruse, 30, Ed Knight, 27, Jerome Wald, 26 and brothers Shane Ford, 25 and Jesse Ford, 29. Their filming experience includes everything on Chevy’s website, work for Ford Motor Co., the new Corvette Stingray and the Silverado.

The video and the partnership between Action Sports Detroit and the Work started without money — all on trust with friends passionate about the project; it soon steamrolled. Ford Racing said it could get the men a rally car and driver if the guys promised they could get the streets closed. With just three weeks notice, Koehler’s response: “One hundred percent. We’ll get the streets closed.” The tactical operations unit of the city worked with the partners in an expedited timeline — mission accomplished.

From there, the Work said if you can get a rally car, we need a helicopter. Both the rally car and helicopter were monumental for the video. The helicopter, which appears in the video, allowed tracking and great shots of the city, including four rally car locations: the Cobo Hall roof parking structure, Campus Martius, Belle Isle and the train station. According to Koehler, “The Work got our vision with their vision.”

Paxahau, the event production management group, also became involved five months ago. Koehler says Paxahau was “hugely helpful when we were just two kids going door to door.”

According to Sam Fotias, operations manager at Paxahau, Krease and Koehler “had the idea and feedback from ESPN. They were looking for help on organizing and making this a reality … how to execute, how to judge expenses.”

If Detroit is awarded the 2014-2016 summer X Games from ESPN, Paxahau would, says Fotias, be the operations arm for the outdoors component of the games.

The relationship of Detroit’s X Games bid to the resurgence of a growing youth culture in the city can’t be overstated. Chicago native Koehler explains: “The reason I moved here is the incredible movement of young people taking action in the city. They are doing it without permission. Detroit is an affordable place to live and has the space to create things. Here everyone does it in a sense for Detroit. There is a very palpable sense of place here. Young people want to be part of that.”

Fotias of Paxahau weighs in: “There is a very strong momentum of the younger generation in the city, working and playing down here. There is a unique civic pride, very different than a lot of cities. This type of event really connects with what is going on here now.”

Action Sports’ X Games Detroit event plan is taking shape. They are thinking the skateboarding and BMX biking events would take place along the riverfront, including a possible superpark at Hart Plaza with street competitions there along with a half-pipe. Sponsorship action is being considered for Campus Martius. The rally car competition would likely be on Belle Isle, utilizing the home of the Grand Prix. Ford Field could house most of the motocross events, plus the big air ramp for skateboarding and BMX.

Kevin Krease is definitely jazzed after going overseas and seeing X Games Barcelona firsthand: “It was a fantastic trip. We spent time with ESPN learning the layout and infrastructure … from where you put the broadcasting vans to how large are the venues. We spent time learning how you build out the rally car race, down to the dirt mixture for the course.”

Krease sees Detroit as an international city, including its connection to Canada and Windsor. This international aspect is “… a wildly underplayed strength we have here. ESPN is viewing this as their North American event,” he explains. “Our goal in marketing it is to bring in Canadians and Americans alike.” Koehler echoes his partner’s sentiments when he calls Detroit “a global city where everyone has a vested interest in seeing this city come back.”

On the evening of Tuesday, May 28, ESPN came to town to examine Detroit’s X Games bid where, at Campus Martius, Action Sports with its #XG2D movement, pulled out all the stops. The party featured DJ sets by Mix Master Mike of the Beastie Boys and Ryan Richards, plus a live graffiti contest with Detroit artists, and an open skate and BMX.

After an all-day rain, the skies cleared for the 8 p.m. start time. The turnout was ample as the DJ set began; spirits were high as people danced to a remix of hometown legend Aretha Franklin’s Respect.

Now it is just a waiting game. X Games producers have stated that the bid city will be announced sometime at the end of June. As this week’s Metro Times goes to press, this writer and the city he lives in are on pins and needles.

Christopher Gruse of the Work sums it up when he says, “Detroit exemplifies what X Games is. From skaters to BMX riders to bands … it is an oyster here. Detroit is the perfect place for this.”

Carl Bookstein  is a freelance writer from Detroit. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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