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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.

“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

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