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  • 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project

    By Amanda Mooney There’s a lot that goes into producing a film, and unless you are a filmmaker you really have no idea. Writing, casting, finding a location, shooting, and editing; each step of the process can take days, months, and sometimes years to complete. Can you imagine doing it ALL in just 48 hours? The 48 Hour Film Project is an annual competition that takes place all over the world in various cities. According to Mike Madigan, head of the Detroit 48 Hour chapter, the city is one of the largest participating in terms of the number of teams. The competing teams go in blind as to what kind of film they will be producing, with no creative planning beyond getting a cast and crew together, Madigan explained. “They pick a genre out of a hat, and they get a line, a prop, and a character. And they have to incorporate that within a short film, that’s usually between 4 to 7 minutes long. And they have the timeframe of doing it all within 48 hours,” said Madigan, “So all the creative process of it all has to happen within that 48 hour–writing a script, putting it together, editing–to […]

    The post 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Passalacqua debut dark project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space

    Church: Revival is the new project by local rap duo Passalacqua (aka Bryan Lackner and Brent Smith), but it’s more than just a new Passalacqua release. The rappers teamed up with siblings Jax Anderson (frontwoman of rockers Flint Eastwood) and Seth Anderson, who together form the songwriting team called Syblyng (naturally). The result is a cycle of songs that promises to be darker than Passalacqua’s material so far. The project will make a live debut on Saturday, July 26 at a brand new venue space at the Detroit Bus Co.’s building Eight & Sand, and they will premiere the Right Bros.-directed video for the track “Baptism” as well. Other performances include Tunde Olaniran and Open Mike Eagle, and DJ sets by Nothing Elegant, Dante LaSalle, and Charles Trees. We met up the two duos at Eight & Sand to check out the new space and to talk about the project with all parties involved. Metro Times: How long have you been working together? Jax Anderson: Seth and I are constantly writing songs together. We want to push in the direction of becoming songwriters more frequently. This is our first project that we took on to co-write everything together. We’re basically just a songwriting entity. We won’t play live that […]

    The post Passalacqua debut dark project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan

    #150207742 / gettyimages.com As locals continue to flood Detroit streets to protest the city’s ongoing water debacle, one national organization is hoping to be part of the solution — that is, for a dietary price. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA as the organization is more commonly known, has offered to pay outstanding water bills for 10 Detroiters who are willing to go vegan for one month. “Vegan meals take far less of a toll on the Earth’s resources,” PETA representatives said in a recent press release. “It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce just a pound of meat but only about 155 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat.” PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk adds, “Vegan meals are also a cost-effective way to help prevent health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart conditions, the last thing that someone who is struggling financially needs to deal with.” Folks interested in participating are asked to send a copy of their most recent overdue water bill and their written pledge to go vegan for one month to PETA Attn: Detroit Water at 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510 before Aug. 1.

    The post PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Dinner Club Does Brunch

    Sure, The Dinner Club, a regularly occurring pop-up that takes places at the Storefront Gallery  in Ferndale (and other locations, occasionally), usually happens around dinner time, but this Sunday, July 27, there will be a special edition: Brunch Chef Matthew Baldridge, who’s resume includes stints at such Detroit greats as Cliff Bell’s, The Rattlesnake Club, and Seldom Blues, has crafted a menu of French-inspired items that employ locally procured ingredients. Brunch includes four courses where guests will be treated to such delights as cocoa, cinnamon, chili-spiced creamy grits with pickled strawberries, cocoa puffs and strawberry-infused syrup, a smoked gouda potato gallette with Faygo Root Beer braised pork belly, quail egg and Faygo Root Beer syrup, banana marscapone-filled French toast with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and balsamic syrup, and champagne-soaked strawberries. It is also important to note that brunch is BYOChampagne. Baldridge, along with The Storefront Gallery’s Derek John and Lilacpop Studio owner and artist Janna Coumoundouros, curate the event that includes an art show, a great playlist, and visuals. Brunch services are at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and last about two hours, only 20 seats are available at each service. The cost is $25 plus a service fee. The Storefront Gallery […]

    The post Dinner Club Does Brunch appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Jurassic 5 holds onto what’s golden

      By Ashley Zlatopolsky It’s been a little over twenty years since iconic ‘90s alternative hip-hop group Jurassic 5 first formed in Los Angeles’ Good Life club. Widely regarded as a pivotal influence in the decade’s underground hip-hop movement by critics and fans alike, the six-piece crew consisting of two DJs (Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark) and four MCs (Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7 and Chali 2na) were well on their way to becoming one of hip-hop’s greatest and most powerful acts of all time, ranking alongside names such as Public Enemy and N.W.A. with socially-conscious lyrics and smooth beats paired with smart sampling. But in 2004, Cut Chemist left the group to pursue a solo career, and in 2007 Jurassic 5 completely called it quits after nearly 15 years of music. And that was it for the crew until 2013. After almost seven years apart (nine for Cut Chemist), Jurassic 5 reunited and re-emerged stronger than ever before with a new flair, seasoned attitude, and more vibrant energy at Coachella Music Festival, the group’s first show with the original six members since Cut Chemist split. During their performance, Jurassic 5 gave fans a memorable concert revisiting all the classic feel-good tracks […]

    The post Jurassic 5 holds onto what’s golden appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks

    Dogs of Detroit have new territory to trot: Yesterday, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy held a soft opening for a 20-acre westward extension of the Riverwalk. Part of a planned two-mile track of the West Riverwalk, the new span runs from the Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks Boulevard, says Mark Pasco, director of communications for the conservancy. “It’s going to be great,” Pasco says. “It’s a wide open green space. It’s going to be great for activities.” The endgame for the Riverwalk, Pasco notes, is to extend the walkway from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park, just past the MacArthur Bridge — about a 5.5. mile route. The new westward expansion is wider than most of the walkway, about 30 feet, says Pasco — a decision made by the conservancy to accommodate fisherman that previously frequented the area. “We knew … once it opened up they’d want to fish there again, so we made the Riverwalk itself wider,” Pasco says. The conservancy will hold a grand opening in late September, which will include “food and music and activities,” Pasco says, though no official date has been set.

    The post Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Culture feature

The Art of the Deal

Pecha Kucha brings the art of precise presentation to fashionable Ferndale.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2013:05:21 16:37:49

Jennie Kay wants people to help photograph every house of worship in Detroit.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


One woman came to talk about a community-based attempt to photograph every house of worship in Detroit. A pair of college students from Toledo focused attention on volunteer efforts to build a bridge in a remote part of Honduras. There was a guy who highlighted a project that’s bringing art to building rooftops, and another who explained how his innovative T-shirt business got its start. And then there was the woman who came to tell people just how fabulous she and her life are.

One by one, they stepped up to a microphone last week at One-Eyed Betty’s, a bar and restaurant in Ferndale. Photos appeared on a screen behind them as they spoke. Twenty photos each, to be exact, each one flashing for 20 seconds, then on to the next so that each presentation lasted just six minutes and 40 seconds.

Welcome to Pecha Kucha, an event that began in Tokyo 10 years ago and has since brought the “art of precise presentation” to more than 500 cities around the world. Last week’s event in Ferndale was the 15th such gathering held in metro Detroit since 2008.

Roughly translated, the term PechaKucha means chitchat in Japanese. But the chatter, for the most part, is anything but idle.  As the Detroit organizers say on their website, the intention is to “celebrate creative and business-minded talent that may not otherwise have an outlet to share their inspirations, creations and ways they’ve changed a community.”

The whole thing is run as a nonprofit, with local groups operating like franchises. The Detroit group stages four events a year. Attendees are asked for a $10 donation to help cover expenses. Several local sponsors also kick in.

As one of the organizers, Frank Nemecek says that last week’s event was in many ways fairly typical of the 14 “volumes” that preceded it. Featuring 10 presenters, there was a good mix of people promoting businesses, artistic projects and do-gooder efforts.

He points out that one of the features of the format and its time limit is that it keeps presenters from “droning on too long.”

You know how loquacious creative types can be when they are talking about a project they are into. On the other hand, if someone wants more information, there is plenty of opportunity to connect with a presenter during the customary intermission, or after the presentations have concluded.

One unusual aspect was the venue. Rather than a place like One-Eyed Betty’s, the presentations are more typically held at cultural institutions such as the DIA and the Charles H.  Wright Museum of African American History. The next one, scheduled for Aug. 21, will be at the Hamtramck Public Library.

For Nemecek, another thing that set last week’s PechaKucha Night apart from the others was the fact that he finally made the leap to being a presenter himself.

A resident of the Warrendale neighborhood on Detroit’s far-west side, Nemecek began looking for ways to deal with the more than 1,000 empty homes in the immediate area. When he learned that there are more than 30,000 students attending Henry Ford Community College and UM’s Dearborn campus that would like to live in the area but couldn’t find housing, the solution clicked into place.

A nonprofit has been started with the intent of renovating empty homes and targeting students as renters.

“We’re picking up steam,” he says. “We’ve got a sponsor, and we’ve got some houses.”

After spending years watching others do it, what was it like to at last get up on the stage himself?

“I found that the process really helps you think about what you are doing,” he says. “If forces you to crystalize your thoughts, and how you are going to convey information, not only in words, but also with the images you attach to those words.”

Some people make their presentations in the hopes that it could lead to the funding of worthy projects. Katie Burns and Kyle Layton, for example, attend the University of Toledo, where they belong to the student chapter of a group called Engineers Without Borders.

During their six minutes and 40 seconds, they talked about Los Sanchez, a small village in Honduras that loses easy access to a nearby town when a nearby river swells during the rainy season. Kids can’t get to school, sick people have a hard time making it to the hospital, and buying food is difficult. A pedestrian bridge would make everyone’s lives infinitely easier. A creative, relatively low-cost span has been designed. Now all that’s needed is the $60,000 in materials required to actually construct the 180-foot bridge.

The one thing that links all of the PechaKucha participants is creativity. Architects, artists, photographers and designers of all stripes are drawn to the event.

Sometimes what people want to talk about is mostly themselves. That was the case for Detroiter Tene’ Dismuke, who says she started studying dance at the age of 4, then went on to become a model (she teaches at Barbizon) and writer (“I have three books in the can and am looking for a publisher,” she tells the crowd.) Among many other things, she runs a summer program for girls called Camp Fabulous. It is a place where girls ages 7 to 16 can develop both their performing arts talents and their self-esteem.

As Dismuke says, it is important to know that you don’t have to “apologize for being fabulous.”

 

To be considered as a presenter for the Aug. 21 event in Hamtramck, send 300 words on you and 300 words on your work; and a 5-megabyte sample (image, audio, video, whatever) to pkndetroit@gmail.com. More information can be found at pechakucha.org/cities/detroit.

 

Curt Guyette is Metro Times news editor. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or cguyette@metrotimes.com

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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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